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Taiwan VP Lai talks economic and security cooperation with Australia's new representative

Lai sees two partners drawing closer together as democracy defenders of Indo-Pacific

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Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te meets with Australia's representative to Taiwan, Jenny Bloomfield, on Thursday (Aug. 5) in Taipei. 

Taiwan Vice President Lai Ching-te meets with Australia's representative to Taiwan, Jenny Bloomfield, on Thursday (Aug. 5) in Taipei.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) received Australia’s new representative to Taiwan, Jenny Bloomfield, on Thursday (Aug. 5), expressing his intention that the two countries continue security cooperation and trade development in the Indo-Pacific region.

In his opening remarks, Lai congratulated Australia on its strong performance at the Tokyo Olympics and also welcomed Bloomfield, who took up her post in Taiwan at the beginning of February, according to Liberty Times.

Lai said that during the epidemic, Bloomfield brought many small gifts from Australia to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, and Taipei Medical University Hospital, cheering on those who worked on the frontline of the pandemic. Lai thanked Bloomfield for her support.

He added that COVID-19 poses a threat to every person regardless of nationality, background, or social class and that cooperation is critical to effectively preventing the spread of the virus. In Taiwan, there has been strong cooperation between central and local governments as well as between civil society and the public sector. He said Taiwan has also coordinated with other countries, as was seen in its mask donations last year.

Lai also thanked Australia’s Minister of Health Greg Hunt for speaking up in support of Taiwan’s bid to participate in the World Health Organization (WHO). The vice president said gestures of support like this have a positive influence on the global fight to prevent the spread of the virus.

Taiwan and Australia are close partners, he continued, describing Australia as playing a positive role in the Indo-Pacific strategy. He said Taiwan is also on the frontlines in defending democratic values and maintaining peace and development throughout the region.

Lai said that trade relations between the two countries are close and highly complementary. Last year, total bilateral trade reached US$10.9 billion. Taiwan is Australia’s sixth-largest export market and 14th-largest trading partner, while Australia is also Taiwan’s 11th-largest trading partner.

Lai expressed pleasure that the two countries will renew their existing agreement, "Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Field of Energy and Mining between Taiwan and Australia."

Taiwan not only needs Australia’s energy and minerals, he said, but is also keen to learn from its renowned research on hydrogen energy, which will play an important role in reaching the U.N.’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.