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Taiwan, Indonesia relations tighter: envoy

2013/01/01 16:52:06

Taipei, Jan. 1 (CNA) Bilateral relations between Taiwan and Indonesia made progress on many fronts last year, and relations will continue to grow closer this year, Taiwan's representative to Indonesia Andrew Hsia said Tuesday.

Taiwan and Indonesia made advances in labor, education, cultural, and trade relations, and there were numerous visits by senior officials between the two countries, Hsia said after a flag-raising ceremony at Jakarta Taipei School Tuesday.

Another sign of progress was the signing on Dec. 4 of a Taiwan-Indonesia memorandum of understanding on a plan to jointly develop Morotai Island, one of Indonesia's northernmost islands.

Hsia pledged to reinforce bilateral ties in the new year, including by increasing the number of Indonesian students enrolled in Taiwan's universities.

The representative office will also continue to help Taiwanese businessmen based in Indonesia and Indonesians who seek to work in Taiwan, he said.

The flag-raising ceremony opened with the singing of the Republic of China's national anthem and the country's flag song. Taiwanese expatriates and businessmen in Indonesia in attendance waved ROC flags to usher in the new year.

The Republic of China is Taiwan's official name.

In Singapore, meanwhile, a party was organized by Taiwanese expatriate communities and Taiwan's representative office in the city state to celebrate New Year's Eve.

Hsieh Fa-dah, Taiwan's representative to Singapore, said Taiwan's economy is expected to improve in 2013, and called on Taiwanese businessmen in Singapore to return to Taiwan to invest.

The envoy said Singapore and Taiwan have reached a consensus on most of the issues in a proposed bilateral trade deal, and only a few issues are left to be ironed out. The deal will be called the Agreement between Singapore and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Partnership (ASTEP).

At a New Year's Eve party in Seoul, Taiwan's representative to South Korea Benjamin Liang said the election of Park Geun-hye, who will become South Korea's first female president, should benefit Taiwanese companies there because of her pledge to focus on small and medium-sized enterprises and the middle class.

Liang also thanked Taiwanese expatriate groups for their assistance last year during the country's national celebrations on Oct. 10.

(By Jay Chou, Lu Hsin-hui, Chiang Yuan-chen and Jamie Wang)
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