Special envoy to APEC James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday reaffirmed Taiwan’s commitment to gender equality at the regional meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, citing the nation’s election of a female president as proof.
Soong, who is the People First Party (PFP) chairman, made the remarks at a breakfast meeting marking the founding of the APEC Women and the Economy Sub-Fund, which was also attended by US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon and Australian Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City Karen Lanyon.
Soong was the first to give a speech at the event, APEC Councilor and PFP Legislator Lee Hung-chun (李鴻鈞) said, adding that the US deferred to Taiwan by letting Soong speak first.
Photo courtesy of the Chinese Taipei APEC delegation
Taiwan has consistently championed equality for women in education, law and other opportunities, and is one of the first nations in Asia and the world to elect a woman as the head of state, Lee quoted Soong as saying.
Prominent women in Taiwan’s politics and business also attended the event, Lee said.
One of them was Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who talked about the nation’s promotion of gender equality in politics, including the allotment of 50 percent of legislators at-large seats for women, National Security Council adviser Lin Liang-jung (林良蓉) said.
The government’s active promotion of equality, education and opportunities has facilitated the rise of female leaders in all sectors of society, Lin quoted Hsiao as saying.
Twenty years ago, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was one of the nation’s delegates to APEC, Hsiao said.
Hsiao acknowledged the contribution made to the nation’s economy by female immigrants from Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations, Lin said.
Hsiao said the government is working hard to give migrant workers, immigrants and foreign spouses the language, vocational and professional training they need to adapt and prosper, Lin added.
Many immigrant women have become successful entrepreneurs and professionals, such as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Li-chan (林麗嬋), who hailed from Cambodia, Hsiao was quoted as saying.
After the meeting, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Matthews thanked Taiwan’s female delegates for supporting the event by their presence, Lin said.
US officials told the Taiwanese delegates that the creation of the sub-fund proved that Taiwan, the US and Australia share common values, Lee said.
Taiwan and the US each contributed US$500,000 to the sub-fund, while Australia gave A$1 million (US$765,595), sources said.
Soong and Matthews exchanged views about North Korea and trade issues in a 30-minute bilateral dialogue on Wednesday afternoon, they said.
Taiwan’s willingness to abide by UN economic sanctions against Pyongyang over the latter’s nuclear program, although it is not a UN member shows that the nation is a firm US ally, Soong was quoted as saying.
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