Australia celebrates national day, ties with Taiwan

Taipei, Jan. 25 (CNA) The Australian Office Taipei on Friday celebrated its national day, while touting the strong relationship between Australia and Taiwan amid increasing exchanges in various fields. Australian Representative Kevin Magee said the country has continued to build links with Taiwan, including a range of new agreements to boost cooperation in areas such as science, research, education and training. It is also noteworthy that Australia has become the top destination for Taiwanese heading overseas for working holiday experiences, Magee said. According to Magee, over 22,000 Taiwanese visited Australia under such a program in 2012, a 60 percent year-on-year growth. "Australia is an exciting, friendly country that embraces multiculturalism and welcomes foreign travelers," Magee said, adding that Australia had seen a 78 percent increase in Taiwanese applying to extend their stay by a further year. Magee introduced to Taiwan a painting depicting the "Rainbow Serpent," believed by Australian aborigines to have shaped its land. Magee said he hoped the image would resonate with the upcoming Year of the Snake according to Chinese zodiac. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)