The UK pledges to work with Taiwan to fight climate change, as both share democratic values respect for human rights, British Representative to Taiwan John Dennis said yesterday.
Dennis made the remarks at a news briefing at the Britishake restaurant in Taipei, marking Earth Day.
Dennis arrived in Taipei in December last year and assumed his post on Jan. 11. From 2014 to 2018, he was British ambassador to Angola and Sao Tome and Principe, and previously worked for the British embassy in Beijing.
“Today marks my 100-day milestone ... since I started external engagements in January” he said.
Over the past three months, he has had meetings with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) and Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), as well as British businesses, he said.
The volume of Taiwan-UK trade has continued to grow, reaching ￡7.1 billion (US$9.8 billion) in 2019, a 28 percent increase from 2017, he said.
Taiwan is the UK’s largest offshore wind market in Asia, with 28 offshore wind supply chain companies in Taiwan, he said.
Meanwhile, tackling climate change and biodiversity loss would be the UK’s highest international priority for the next decade, Dennis said, adding that the UK was the first major economy to set a net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050.
Dennis said that he is glad to see that several Taiwanese businesses are taking action to join global climate initiatives, including the “Race to Zero,” “Renewable Energy 100” and “Electric Vehicle 100” campaigns, as well as cities taking the lead.
New Taipei City, Taichung and Kaohsiung have joined the "Powering Past Coal Alliance,” Dennis said.
The office is also keen to work with Taiwan in the science and technology sector, as well as on promoting bilingual education projects, Dennis added.
Taiwan is famous for innovative technology development, as the worldwide largest producer of semiconductors and the UK’s key international partner for chip technology collaboration, Dennis said.
The office has established three trade dialogues on intellectual property, energy and agriculture with Taiwan, Dennis said, adding that he is looking forward to bilateral trade talks in October.
In response to media queries on whether British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth would transit the Taiwan Strait when it visits the Indo-Pacific region next month, the office in a statement quoted Dennis as saying that "final decisions on routing will be for the UK Carrier Strike Group Operational Commander to make."
"The Indo-Pacific is increasingly important for the UK, as it is at the centre of global economic growth, and a region of increasing geostrategic importance. It is a natural choice for the inaugural deployment of our Carrier Strike Task Group to include a visit to the region. The deployment is a sign of the UK’s commitment to regional security," the statement added.
This story has been amended since it was first published.
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