London, Feb. 8 (CNA) A former British representative to Taiwanwas awarded the Friendship Medal of Diplomacy by the nation'sgovernment Tuesday in recognition of his contributions to promotingTaiwan-U.K. relations.
The medal was conferred on Michael Reilly by Taiwan'srepresentative to the United Kingdom, Chang Siao-yue, on behalf ofForeign Minister Timothy C.T. Yang at a ceremony held in London.
Reilly described the medal as a "great honor" that serves as aperfect conclusion to his 30-year diplomatic career.
"I'm very pleased to have been recognized in this way. I'm verygrateful to Taiwan and to the people of Taiwan for the recognition, "he said.
Chang said that during his 2006-2009 term as director of theBritish Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan, Reilly spared no effortto boost investment, trade and cultural exchanges between Britain andTaiwan.
Reilly's most important achievement was promoting U.K. visa-freeprivileges for Taiwanese nationals, Chang said.
After Taiwanese were granted visa-free access in March 2009, thenumber of Taiwanese visitors to the U.K. increased by 150 percentthat year compared with the previous year.
According to Chang, even after his return to Britain, Reillycontinued to pay attention to Taiwan-U.K. ties on many publicoccasions and to show his friendship and support for Taiwan.
Reilly told CNA that the three years he spent in Taiwan left himwith many happy and pleasant memories.
"I miss the food a bit. I miss the people. Taiwanese are such afriendly, helpful people," he said.
An avid hiker, Reilly has visited Taiwan's famous Jade Mountain,Snow Mountain and Hehuan Mountain. He said the serene and fresh airof Taiwan's mountains is what he finds the most unforgettable.
(By Jennifer Huang and Y.F. Low)