Relations between Taiwan and Russia are steadily improving: VOA

With new direct flights, increased trade and cultural exchange, bilateral relations likely to warm

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In recent months, relations between Taiwan and Russia have been steadily increasing, with the trend of warming ties between the two countries expected to continue.

In a report from Voice of America (VOA), a commentator on Russian affairs outlined how ties between Taiwan and Russia are beginning to look very promising.

In early May, direct flights between Taiwan and Russia were established for the first time in the history of the two countries, with routes between Taoyuan International Airport and Moscow, as well as the eastern city of Vladivostok.

The direct flights come almost a year after Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) introduced visa waivers for Russian citizens in September 2018, in a bid to increase tourism and business from the country.

Currently the visa waiver program is set to end on July 31, 2019, but if the direct flight routes prove to be successful during their first two months, MOFA is reportedly considering extending the visa waiver.

VOA reports that some businessmen in Russia are hopeful that Taiwan can become an important trading partner with the federation, which might surpass Russia’s annual trade with Cypress in the Mediterranean. The report also suggests that the Russian government is tacitly supporting improved ties with Taiwan, despite what many see as Russia’s lose partnership with China.

According to the commentator, named “Nikolsky”(尼科里斯基), the Russian government has also been secretly funding cultural events taking place in Taiwan in recent months, including an Orthodox Easter celebration, a Victory Day event, and a Slavic cultural festival, which have included special guest performers from Russia.

Additionally, a Taiwanese film was recently awarded as "Best Film" at the Baikal International Film Festival, which took place in Chita, in the Zabaykalsky Krai. The film was "Dad's Suit" (老大人) by Director Po-Hao Hung (洪伯豪).

The festival included films from Chinese and Taiwanese participants, which were identified as separate nations at the festival and in promotional materials.