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Frank Hsieh arrives in Tokyo as Taiwan's envoy to Japan

2016/06/09 14:23:35

Frank Hsieh (front right).

Tokyo, June 9 (CNA) Taiwan's newly named representative to Japan, Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), arrived in Tokyo to take up his new duties Thursday, and pledged to deepen ties between the two countries.

Hsieh was welcomed at Haneda Airport by Japanese officials and Taiwanese diplomats and expatriates, with local news reports hailing the appointment of Hsieh as a sign of the importance which the Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) attaches to Taiwan-Japan relations.

Hsieh, who is 70, is the first former premier to be named Taiwan's top envoy to any foreign country, the reports said.

He is also the only one among party elders to have been given a job since Tsai was sworn in as president on May 20.

Taiwan and Japan historically have had close ties and have offered help to each other in the aftermath of disasters over the years, Hsieh said at Taipei Songshan Airport before boarding a flight to Tokyo.

Such mutual help has created a positive cycle, and Tsai has asked him to further deepen and strengthen Taiwan-Japan ties based on this foundation, Hsieh added.

Several legislators of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, including Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) and Yao Wen-chih (姚文智), went to the airport to see Hsieh off.

The former premier and mayor of Kaohsiung said he will start working shortly after his arrival, as he is scheduled to join Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) and Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te (賴清德) Friday in Kumamoto Prefecture, southern Japan.

In Kumamoto, Chen and Lai will donate money raised by their two cities for relief and rebuilding efforts after a series of earthquakes struck the region April 16. They will also visit the affected areas.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Kay Liu)