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Memorial exhibition on 'Mr. Africa' to kick off in Taipei

Memorial exhibition on 'Mr. Africa' to kick off in Taipei

Taipei, Dec. 1 (CNA) An exhibition dedicated to late Republic of China diplomat Yang Hsi-kun (???) is set to kick off in Taipei later this month, giving visitors a glimpse into the life of the diplomat, known locally as "Mr. Africa" for his significant role in the development of ROC relations with Africa. Born in 1910, Yang is one of the most significant diplomats in the history of ROC diplomacy. He died in 2000 at the age of 90. From 1952 to 1955, he was posted in Africa while working at the United Nations Trusteeship Council. After that, he returned to Taiwan to serve in several posts, including director of the Department of African Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, vice foreign minister, deputy foreign minister, ROC ambassador to South Africa and national policy advisor to the president. A seasoned diplomat, he had extensive experience in dealing with African affairs, which earned him the title of "Mr. Africa." The "Diplomatic Pioneer: Ambassador Yang Hsi-kun's Memorial Exhibition," to be held by the Central News Agency, will give visitors a glimpse of Yang's tenure as ambassador to South Africa between 1979 and 1989, during which time he helped set the stage for a climax in bilateral relations. During his tenure in South Africa, he maintained a good relationship with his subordinates there, including incumbent Foreign Minister David Lin (???). Lin served as Yang's secretary from 1980-1987. "Ambassador Yang Hsi-kun was a very good supervisor," Lin recalled during a recent interview with CNA. "I learned a lot from him. He taught his juniors a great deal." Recalling ties between the ROC and South Africa at the time, Lin described it as the highest point in diplomatic relations between the two countries. He cited as examples bilateral exchange visits by high-level officials. Then-Premier Sun Yun-suan (???) went to the African country in March 1980, and in October that same year, then-Prime Minister of South Africa Pieter Willem Botha paid a visit to Taiwan. Those visits laid the foundation of bilateral cooperation and growing exchanges in trade and military in the ensuing years, making South Africa the strongest partner for the ROC, Lin said. Meanwhile, he said, Yang's experience at the United Nations Trusteeship Council allowed him to interact with leaders of other African countries, which helped the establishment of the ROC's diplomatic ties with many countries on the continent. Yang's performance in South Africa not only won him respect from ruling and opposition parties in the African country, but also helped improve the social status of Chinese expatriates there. Speaking about the upcoming exhibition, Lin said it is a meaningful event that will remember the diplomat and remind the public of that part of ROC history. The exhibition, to kick off Dec. 9, will run through Dec. 21 in the lobby of the Foreign Ministry's Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs building in Taipei. (By Tang Pei-chun and Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-09-20 03:30 GMT+08:00