During a meeting with Singapore Trade Office in Taipei Representative Simon Wong Wie Kuen on the morning of December 2, President Tsai Ing-wen praised Representative Wong's support for Taiwan's New Southbound Policy and contributions to Taiwan-Singapore relations. She also expressed hope that by building on our existing foundation, we will take our bilateral relations to the next level.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
Trade Representative Simon Wong Wie Kuen has witnessed Taiwan's implementation of our New Southbound Policy over the past few years and has been an excellent partner in our cooperative efforts. I first proposed the New Southbound Policy while running for president in 2015, and I still recall how Representative Wong stated at that time that Singapore was very happy to see any policy that supports regional development and cooperation.
Since then, Representative Wong has demonstrated his support through concrete action. In the three years since I took office, with the help of the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei, our New Southbound Policy has yielded many achievements. Now, Representative Wong is preparing to leave his post, and we will certainly miss him. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I would like to thank Representative Wong for his assistance during his tenure.
Over the last few years, exchanges between Taiwan and Singapore have become increasingly close across the board. Last year, among the 10 ASEAN nations, travelers from Singapore accounted for the third largest number of arrivals in Taiwan, which is quite impressive given Singapore's population. The number of arrivals in Singapore from Taiwan also rose by 7% from the year before, so more and more Taiwanese are travelling to Singapore.
When the National Palace Museum (NPM) made Singaporean culture the theme of its 2018 NPM Asian Art Festival, Taiwan and Singapore worked together to hold a series of "Month of Singapore" events to familiarize international travelers and the people of Taiwan with Singapore's diverse culture.
What makes me most happy is our agricultural product exports to Singapore, and I want to specially thank Representative Wong for his assistance on that. Just last month, our Minister of the Council of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) went to Singapore to promote the sale of Taiwan rice, and achieved considerable success. We hope that Taiwan rice will quickly become popular in Singapore, just like our mangos and wax apples.
The partnership between Taiwan and Singapore has made steady, step-by-step progress. I want to thank Representative Wong once again for all his support and assistance. Hopefully, by building on the foundation laid by Representative Wong, our bilateral relations will get even better, and go to the next level.
Representative Wong is welcome to come back to Taiwan often. I trust that he has many old and good friends in Taiwan, and our friendship will never change.