Taiwan Israel cooperation 311.
(photo credit: Taipei Economic and Cultural Office)
The visa waiver which came into effect on August 11 between Israel and Taiwan
ushered a new era of improving trade and tourism between the two
In addition to the waiver, we signed several other agreements
and memoranda including a Customs Cooperation, Avoidance of Double Taxation
Agreement and more. Before the end of the year we will hopefully sign two more
agreements, about water technology and aviation.The people of Taiwan are also
thrilled to congratulate Technion Professor Dan Shechtman on becoming Israel’s
tenth Nobel Laureate. In Taiwan, we well remember the excitement when
Dr. Yuan T. Lee won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan celebrates its centennial, we also take the
opportunity to reflect on a century of great struggle and tremendous success.
The ROC became Asia’s first republic on October 10, 1911 as the result of the
efforts of founding father Dr. Sun Yatsen and other revolutionaries. The early
decades were turbulent, but 1947 saw the promulgation of the ROC Constitution,
which mandates a government of the people, by the people and for the people –
the fundamental principles of democracy.
The ROC government relocated to
Taiwan in 1949, one year after the independence of the State of
Ten major construction projects of the 1970s led to the island’s
“economic miracle,” which transformed an agrarian economy into one based on
services and knowledge. The development of democracy and social rights
accelerated when martial law ended in 1987, resulting in the lifting of bans on
new political parties and newspapers. The next steps came when the ROC’s first
direct presidential election was held in 1996 and the first transfer of power
from the ruling party to an opposition party occurred peacefully in
IN THE international sphere, the ROC on Taiwan endured several
trying decades after it left the United Nations in 1971 and the United States
severed diplomatic ties in 1979. Since taking power in 2008, President Ma
Ying-jeou’s administration has worked strenuously to improve relations with
mainland China, rebuild links with the United States and enhance the ROC’s
peaceful image and world status. As a result, ROC citizens now enjoy visa-free
entry to 123 countries and territories.
Moreover, the signing of the
Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) between Taiwan and mainland
China in 2010 has proven crucial for continuing Taiwan’s economic
ECFA allows the nation to tap the mainland market,
participate in the regional economy and has led to trade negotiations with other
Even the Japanese government was considering their investment
to China through Taiwan.
Taiwan has also become known for taking the best
elements of Chinese culture and blending them with distinctive local
characteristics, yielding a mélange that is a primary reason more than 2.5
million tourists from mainland China have visited the island since agreements
establishing closer sea and air transport links took effect in 2008. And there
are 550 direct flights between cities of Taiwan and mainland
Taiwan’s unique social blend has led to the development of a
cultural and creative industry that leads the Mandarin-speaking world. The
island’s New Wave Cinema movement, for example, attracted international critical
acclaim during the 1980s and gave rise to world-renowned directors such as Hou
Hsiao-hsien and Ang Lee. A more recent renaissance can be seen in movies like
director Wei Te-sheng’s 2008 box-office smash Cape No.7.
Taiwan’s philanthropic spirit can be seen in the donation of more than NT $5.7
billion (US $196.6 million) – more than any other country in the world – by the
Taiwan government and private individuals to victims of the devastating
earthquake and tsunami on March 11 this year in Japan. Another example of
Taiwan’s humanitarianism is the work of vegetable vendor Chen Shu-chu, who was
selected as one of the world’s 100 most influential people of 2010 by Time
magazine for her large charitable donations.
Taiwanese citizens now enjoy
a vibrant multiparty democracy, resilient economy and full freedom of speech, as
well as comprehensive social welfare and human rights safeguards. When the
fireworks explode on October 10, they will honor every individual who helped the
nation reach such milestones, as well as illuminate a future of peace and
Taiwan and Israel share many similar situations:
both are small but rich and beautiful democratic countries, surrounded by strong
and hostile enemies that have developed into energetic hardware or software hubs
in the world high-tech industry. I believe that our practical, win-win policy
will lead our two countries and peoples into many more cooperative efforts in
the future.The writer is director of Information Division, Taipei
Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv.