Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Monday thanked the departing Australian envoy to Taiwan Gary Cowan for his contributions to Taiwan-Australia relations and pledged that Taiwan will stand by Australia in difficult times.
Tsai made the remarks when she received Cowan, who is ending his tour of duty in Taiwan next month, at the Presidential Office.
“On behalf of the people and government of Taiwan, I want to thank you for your hard work and contributions to Taiwan-Australia relations,” she said.
Tsai recalled that she has met Cowan at many events over the past two years, reflecting the close cooperation between the two sides in a broad range of areas, especially in the energy sector.
“During that period, Taiwan signed a long-term contract to purchase liquefied natural gas from Australia. Australia has joined us on our path to energy transition, playing a pivotal role in the completion and launch of our first offshore wind farm,” she said.
Tsai conveyed her appreciation to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for supporting Taiwan’s international participation and said she looks forward to even closer cooperation on more international issues.
She expressed hope that Taiwan and Australia can negotiate and sign an Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) so that their close partnership can be strengthened.
The president also lauded Australian wine as world-renowned and said it has become especially popular over the past few days.
The compliment came against the backdrop of hefty duties imposed by China on Australian wine products beginning in late November as China-Australia relations deteriorate.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry, political personalities and netizens have showed their solidarity with Australia by posting messages of support on social media or initiating campaigns to buy Australian wines.
Tsai said Taiwan and Australia are true partners and pledged that “when Australia faces intense pressure, Taiwan will certainly be there to provide warmth and support.”
Cowan, who began his stint in Taiwan in early 2018, has completed what some consider to be three “must do’s” for foreigners in Taiwan, which are swimming across Sun Moon Lake, cycling around the island and climbing to the top of Yushan.
Last month, he launched a year-long campaign with the theme “Rediscover Australia, Rediscover Taiwan” to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Australian Office Taipei next year. (Emerson Lim)
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel