Kaohsiung, April 28 (CNA) Taiwan inaugurated a new central government agency, the Ocean Affairs Council (OAC), on Saturday, with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) outlining its three main responsibilities as protecting the marine environment, promoting the maritime industry and strengthening ocean research.
After some 14 years of preparation, the OAC has been launched to consolidate the work of what used to be 22 different agencies, Tsai said at the inauguration ceremony.
Under the new Cabinet-level OAC, there will be three entities -- the Coast Guard Administration, the National Ocean Research Institute, and Ocean Conservation Administration, with the latter focusing on implementing Taiwan's marine environment and anti-pollution laws, Tsai said.
Headquartered in the southern port city of Kaohsiung, the OAC will also be able to push for the development of Taiwan's maritime industry, she said.
The National Ocean Research Institute, meanwhile, will work to improve marine research and cultivate new talent in that field, according to the president.
Also speaking at the inauguration ceremony, OAC head Hwung Hwung-Hweng (黃煌煇), who served as chairman of the Aviation Safety Council before being appointed to his new post and a former president of National Cheng Kung University, said basing the council in Kaohsiung will help bridge the administrative gap between southern Taiwan and the north where the capital is located.
Hwung said he feels a great sense of responsibility because ocean affairs are vital to Taiwan's continued survival and development as an island nation.
Preparations for the establishment of the OAC began in 2004 and continued through two changes of governing parties and three presidents, according to Tsai.