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President Tsai meets British Office Taipei Representative Catherine Nettleton
President Tsai meets British Office Taipei Representative Catherine Nettleton

While meeting with British Office Taipei Representative Catherine Nettleton on the morning of December 1, President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Representative Nettleton for her long-term efforts to promote economic and trade relations between Taiwan and the United Kingdom (UK), facilitate reciprocal high-level visits, and work together with Taiwan to fight the pandemic. The president also expressed hope that Taiwan and the UK will continue to enhance cooperation and exchanges in areas such as energy transformation.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

Since taking up her post in late 2016, Representative Nettleton has visited the Presidential Office often and is a good friend, keeping very close contact with us. This month your tenure in Taiwan will end, so today will be your last visit, and we are certainly sad to see you go. On behalf of the people and government of Taiwan, I would like to thank you for your contributions to enhancing Taiwan-UK relations.

In your four years here, Taiwan and the UK have established many official exchange mechanisms for various industries, including the Taiwan-UK Smart City Forum, the Taiwan-UK Energy Dialogue, and the Taiwan-UK Agriculture Dialogue. You also facilitated a number of reciprocal high-level visits, making communication between Taiwan and the UK more effective.

The Taiwan-UK trade partnership is continuing to advance. Last year our bilateral trade reached 7.1 billion pounds, with Taiwan becoming the UK's seventh biggest trade partner in the Asia-Pacific region. Last month we convened the UK-Taiwan trade talks to continue developing even stronger trade and investment ties.

This year Taiwan and the UK have cooperated more closely to fight the pandemic. We are grateful to the UK for supporting our successful bid to participate in GAVI's (Vaccine Alliance) Global Vaccine Summit in June, and look forward to overcoming post-pandemic challenges together.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plan for a green recovery will be a major post-pandemic boost for the UK. And we agree with Prime Minister Johnson's sentiment that "green and growth can go hand in hand." So the offshore wind industry has been a focus of Taiwan-UK cooperation in recent years.

With Representative Nettleton's assistance, Taiwan and the UK jointly developed our domestic wind power, and set up Taiwan's first wind power training center, making Taiwan a leader in offshore wind power development in Asia. Next year, the UK will host the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). Last month, Taiwan and the UK convened a meeting to exchange views on related issues. We hope that the UK will support Taiwan's participation in next year's Conference, so that we can continue to strengthen our cooperation in energy transformation.

I know that you have also taken a strong interest in our 2030 Bilingual Nation policy, and have worked with our Ministry of Education to improve English language education in Taiwan. You have helped Taiwan in so many ways that it is impossible to list them all, and we sincerely appreciate your diligence and dedication.

I remember the first time we met, I said I hoped you would enjoy living here. And you have truly experienced Taiwan, from cycling around the island to climbing Yushan, our highest peak. I am sure that you have created many unforgettable memories here, and cherish this land just as we do.

Once again, I want to thank you for all that you have done for Taiwan. I wish you all the best on your next posting, and hope you will remain a good friend of Taiwan. Taiwan will always welcome you back to visit and create even more happy memories.

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