Two parliamentary associations to facilitate exchanges with lawmakers abroad were inaugurated at a ceremony at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday — the Taiwan-New Zealand Inter-Parliamentary Amity Association and the Taiwan-Four Nordic Countries Parliamentary Friendship Association.
The four Nordic countries are Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
The associations were launched by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Michelle Lin (林楚茵), who aims to enhance international diplomacy before the end of the current legislative term on Jan. 31 next year.
The associations aim to create opportunities for exchanges and cooperation between Taiwan and the five countries regarding foreign affairs, economic matters, trade, culture, education and dealings with overseas Taiwanese, she said.
Lin said she would like to work with newly appointed Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Wellington Representative Joanne Ou (歐江安) to boost economic and cultural exchanges between Taiwan and New Zealand.
Department of European Affairs Director Vincent Yao (姚金祥), who is a former representative to Sweden, can provide firsthand experience and help bolster ties between Taiwan and the Nordic countries, she said.
The associations can ambitiously assist with parliamentary diplomacy, which is “the best way to let the world see Taiwan,” Legislative Yuan Secretary-General Lin Jih-jia (林志嘉) said.
Economic ties with New Zealand have been growing stronger since a free-trade agreement was signed in 2013, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary-General Tang Diann-wen (唐殿文) said, adding that the two countries are like-minded partners in the Indo-Pacific region,
Sweden sent a delegation to Taiwan in April last year, followed by Finland earlier this month, each showing their concern and support for Taiwan, Tang said.
New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office Director Mark Pearson said he thinks the association can help Taiwan better understand New Zealand and the relations between the two sides.
The Taiwan Friendship Group being one of the largest parliamentary groups in the Swedish Riksdag reflects “high, growing and positive interests for Taiwan,” as the two sides share values regarding democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Swedish Representative to Taiwan Anders Wollter said.
The two countries have had fruitful exchanges in business, research, student exchanges, culture and sustainability, which Nordic countries have benefited from, Wollter said.
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