Taiwan to open rep. office in Indonesia's second-largest city

Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) Taiwan will soon open a new representative office in Surabaya, Indonesia's second-largest city, a move that is expected to boost relations between the two countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday. Preparations for the opening of the new representative office in the capital of Indonesia's East Java Province are underway and the office is expected to be officially established in November, said Elliott Charng (???), director-general of the ministry's Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. The opening of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO) in Surabaya -- Taiwan's second representative office in Indonesia -- will help promote bilateral trade relations and make it more convenient for Indonesian workers to apply for visas to work in Taiwan, he told a news conference. Approximately 230,000 Indonesians currently work in Taiwan, accounting for the largest group of foreign workers in the country, he said. "As many of them come from East Java, the Surabaya office will offer greater convenience to those applying for work visas, saving them time and travel costs to Jakarta to apply for their visas," he added. Currently, Indonesians need to visit the TETO in Jakarta to apply for visas to work in Taiwan. Statistics show that in 2014, Taiwan was Indonesia's 10th-largest trade partner, while Indonesia is Taiwan's 12th-largest trade partner, Charng told reporters. The two economies are highly complementary, with labor, commercial, agricultural, and fisheries cooperation expanding in recent years, according to the ministry. The establishment of the new office will strengthen bilateral exchanges in these areas and will also serve Taiwanese businessmen in the region, bolstering economic and trade cooperation between Taiwan and eastern Indonesia, he said. More than 300 Taiwanese businesses have set up operations in Surabaya, which covers an area of 326.8 square kilometers and is home to 5.6 million people, including 300,000 ethnic Chinese, he added. He said the office is also expected to boost bilateral education exchanges. Indonesia is Taiwan's fifth-largest source of overseas students, and the number of Indonesian students in Taiwan has risen by nearly 50 percent, surpassing the 3,000 mark, he said. As the most important education center in East Java, Surabaya is home to the Surabaya Taipei International School and the Taiwan Education Center Indonesia, the ministry said. "The establishment of the new office is expected to attract more students from East Java to Taiwan," he added. The agreement on setting up the representative office came as bilateral relations have continued to grow steadily, the ministry said. "The opening of the Surabaya office will help boost labor, economic, trade, investment, tourism, cultural, and educational exchanges, benefitting both sides," it said. (By Elaine Hou)