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Departing British envoy hopes for stronger UK-Taiwan collaboration

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British representative to Taiwan Catherine Nettleton (second left) and her colleagues at the British Office Taipei take part in the 2018 Taiwan Pride ...

British representative to Taiwan Catherine Nettleton (second left) and her colleagues at the British Office Taipei take part in the 2018 Taiwan Pride ... (CNA photo)

The outgoing British representative to Taiwan Catherine Nettleton said on Wednesday (Dec. 9) that she hopes to see stronger collaboration between the United Kingdom and Taiwan amid emerging challenges.

Nettleton first arrived in Taiwan to study Mandarin in 1986 and returned in 2016 to serve as the de facto British ambassador to Taiwan.

In her farewell letter, made available to the media and posted on the British Office Taipei's Facebook page, Nettleton shared what she has witnessed in Taiwan of the political and economic developments over the years.

"This is evident politically, as Taiwanese people now enjoy a vibrant democracy and the rule of law," she wrote. "And economically, as Taiwan's companies have transitioned from basic manufacturing to supplying the world with advanced technology."

"I would like to congratulate the Taiwanese people on your journey of the last 30 years. It is something you should value greatly," she said.

The seasoned diplomat said she saw relations between the U.K. and Taiwan getting closer amid increasing changes around the globe, citing their collaboration on offshore wind energy, digital economy, global free trade and efforts to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also mentioned the common support for marriage equality as proof of both countries' respect for diversity.

"These are all areas in which Taiwan has an important role to play. Taiwan and the U.K. are already cooperating on these issues and we want to deepen our collaboration as we face newly emerging challenges," Nettleton wrote.

"Taiwan is not just the chip inside our mobile phone, it is not just the only society in Asia with marriage equality, it is not just a center of creativity and energy, it is not just the 'beautiful island' of dramatic peaks, lush forests and precious biodiversity. Taiwan is all these things," she said.

"And it is our firm partner as we manage our changing world together."

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) received Nettleton, who will end her tour of duty in Taiwan this month, at the Presidential Office on Dec. 1.

Tsai thanked Nettleton for her efforts to promote bilateral cooperation in all fields and expressed hope that bilateral relations will continue to build on the existing solid foundation.