Representative of the British Office Taipei Catherine Nettleton and the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT)'s Taipei office William Brent Christensen visited Taichung City Mayor Shiow-yen Lu today (24th) separately to exchange opinions with the Mayor in relation to international participation, energy transformation, business development, environmental protection, food safety, and intercity cooperation. Mayor Lu also briefed the delegates on the current development situation in Taichung, hoping to foster more exchanges and collaborations in the future, as well as to solidify the friendship between Taiwan, the UK, and the US.
Mayor Lu met with Representative of the British Office Taipei Catherine Nettleton at the Houli Horse Ranch Expo Site accompanied by Deputy Mayor Bruce Linghu and City Hall officials. According to Mayor Lu, Taiwan and the UK hold a close relationship, because the UK is not only the first European country to offer Taiwan visa exemption, it also supports Taiwan to attend the WHA as an observer. Mayor Lu expressed her gratitude to the UK for supporting and assisting Taiwan.
Mayor Lu also commented that the UK is like a window of the world with diverse cultures and suave, polite people, therefore she and many Taiwanese people are very fond of the country. Towards the end of 2017, China Airlines also launched direct flights from Taiwan to London (4 flights per week), indicating frequent interactions between the 2 countries. Apart from Taipei, Taichung is the closest Taiwanese city to the UK, so she hopes there will be more opportunities for bilateral exchanges in the future.
According to Representative Catherine Nettleton, as a veteran diplomat, she started her career by learning Mandarin in Taiwan during the first year, therefore she has fond memories of the country. There are currently many Taiwanese students studying in the UK, so both countries hold close ties in areas such as commerce, economy, culture, and education. Taichung boasts a thriving innovation industry and precision machinery industry, if there are enterprises in Taichung looking for international partners, she will be more than willing to introduce them to their British counterparts.
She also mentioned that she is aware of Mayor Lu's concerns on air pollution and that there are thermal power plants in Taichung; since CO2 emissions from thermal power plants lead to the greenhouse effect and climate change, therefore in mitigating this problem the UK government plans to shut down all thermal power plants by 2025.
Furthermore, the ratio of renewable energy such as solar power and offshore wind power will be increased via energy transformation. In particular, UK's largest thermal power plant will cease generating power using coal ahead of schedule in 2023, instead, it will be fueled by natural gas or bioenergy. She hopes that the UK will be able to share its experiences on this topic with Taiwan, so she has invited Mayor Lu to visit the UK.
Mayor Lu replied that the EU has already stipulated the climate targets for reducing emissions, and numerous countries in the world are planning to shut down thermal power plants completely by 2030, with the UK aiming to achieve this goal ahead of the timetable in 2025. If Taiwan is to be like the UK, it is imperative to expedite the speed of energy transformation. With decent weather in central Taiwan, wind power plants have been established in the Daan District, it is hoped that Taichung City Hall will be able to visit the UK to gain deeper insight into the country's energy transformation conditions, so as to facilitate bilateral exchanges and cooperation. London School of Economics and Political Science Alumni Association Taiwan participated in the flora expo's World Gardens Competition with the theme of "The British Royal Classic Garden", and it also attended the International Indoor Floriculture Competition, receiving 2 silver awards and one bronze award at the World Gardens Competition. Representative Catherine Nettleton was invited to accept the awards on the stage.
Thereafter, Mayor Lu also met with the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT)'s Taipei office William Brent Christensen and company. Since this year is AIT's 40th anniversary, Director William Brent Christensen especially presented Mayor Lu with an exclusive souvenir, and Mayor Lu also gifted him with Taichung Park Pavilion lacquer plate and pear pen as a token of her appreciation.
Having come into the office in August last year, AIT Director William Brent Christensen suggested that this is his 3rd tour of duty in Taiwan. In 1978, he was stationed in Taichung for 3 months, and he believes that Taiwan has made giant strides in terms of environmental protection, with more green spaces in various cities, and Taiwan is also considered a forerunner in recycling technology.
Mayor Lu commented that as the standard of living rises, environmental protection and food safety conditions have also been approved. However, there are still plenty of areas needing attention and learning; Taichung is the most livable city in Taiwan thanks to the great climate, convenient transport, and living environment. In addition, the city's abundant history and culture are complemented by the smart and high-tech industries. Everyone is welcome to visit Taichung in hopes of fostering more opportunities for interaction and collaboration.
Director William Brent Christensen also thanked Mayor Lu for taking time off her busy schedule to meet him, and he hopes that he can visit Taichung again to really understand the city.