TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Australia’s top envoy to Taiwan, Gary Cowan, said that Australia and Taiwan share common values and a deepening relationship during an event in Taipei on Jan. 23, reported CNA.
When Taiwan looks south as part of its New Southbound Policy, Australia is also looking north, quipped the representative.
Cowman made the comments during a function celebrating Australia’s national day, which falls on January 26. The event was attended by a host of senior officials and business leaders. Award winning Taiwanese indigenous artist Seredau also performed at the event.
Cowan began his speech by outlining his first year in Taiwan as Representative of the Australian Office, Taipei, speaking about a range of official and unofficial activities.
Cowan observed that he had seen a lot of sharing between Australia and Taiwan over the last year: sharing of values and beliefs, of desire for regional peace and stability, and of economic partnerships.
Australia-Taiwan relations have deepened over the past year, and Cowan pointed to increased sharing of information, aligning of customs controls, as well as agricultural and financial exchanges.
Cowan went on to note that Australian investment bank Macquarie Capital is heavily involved in the development offshore wind power, and that Australia is Taiwan’s largest energy supplier.
In terms of cultural exchange, Cowan voiced enthusiasm for the upcoming exhibition of 153 treasures from the National Palace Museum, which will go on show in Sydney from Feb. 2 to May 2. A range of Australian indigenous artwork will also be exhibited in Taiwan later this year.
Around 200,000 young Taiwanese head to Australia each year as part of a working holiday program, and the representative noted that this figure is growing, as well as the numbers of Australians visiting Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affair Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) spoke at the event, and began by joking that as Cowan adopted a Taiwanese dog last year, with the advent of the year of the pig, he is unsure whether the representative is also considering the purchase of a pig.
Wu also said that Australia and Taiwan share a host of common values, and suggested that if relations could be upgraded to another level, both parties would benefit.
Wu said that Australia-Taiwan cooperation takes place in all areas, and he hopes that both nations will continue to work together in the future.
Joseph Wu, left, with Gary Cowan. (CNA image)