Recently there have been rumors that Saint Lucia, an eastern Caribbean nation, might sever ties with Taiwan. Reports that Saint Lucia might switch diplomatic recognition to China have circulated over the last few years, but the relations between Taiwan and Saint Lucia have remained stable. Last year, Saint Lucia signed an agreement with Desert Star Holdings, a Hong Kong-based company, for the development of the Pearl of the Caribbean, a US$2.6 billion project that will include a marina, horse track, casino, free trade zone, shopping complex and housing complex. The plan is to attract mainland Chinese tourists and investors to Saint Lucia.
In an interview with Prof.Denys Springer, former director of the Government Information Service of Saint Lucia and former research fellow of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, he said that he and many other people from different political parties have put pressure on the current government not to establish diplomatic ties with China.
Saint Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984, but in 1997, switched recognition to China. In 2007, Taiwan and Saint Lucia resumed diplomatic ties and the relationship was further strengthened with the opening of the embassy of Saint Lucia in Taipei in June 2015, making it the first embassy in Asia.
Turkish representative, Ambassador Ismet Erikan has been actively promoting Turkey to Taiwanese. He said October is a Turkish month filled with many Turkish cultural activities. Ambassador Ismet Erikan said the launching of the direct flight between Taipei and Istanbul opens a window of opportunity for both Taiwanese and Turkish. He hopes the cargo flight will be filled with merchandise from Turkey to Taiwan one day.
Ambassador Ismet Erikan is a seasoned diplomat and he has been promoting cultural exchanges by helping Turkish artists hold exhibitions in Taiwan. He said cultural diplomacy touches the heart of the people and he vows to go to one university to lecture on Turkey in Taiwan. He even goes to elementary and middle schools to promote his country.
Turkish representative Ambassador Ismet Erikan said Turkey is just as safe as any other major countries in Europe despite the fact Turkey is still placed under the state of emergency citing that the state of emergency applies more to the government rather than to the public. He said any Taiwanese whom he met that has been to Turkey after the attempted military coup said Turkey is a safe travel destination.
The Turkish representative said Taiwanese can apply the Turkish visa on line without having to pay any fee. He jokingly added that one day at a seminar when he mentioned the whole process could be completed within three minutes, a Taiwanese lady corrected him by saying it took her only two minutes.
The exhibition of Country Focus at Taiwan Designers’ Week 2016 houses a collection of 42 works from Israel in collaboration with Holon Institute of Technology. Professor Dana Arieli, a professor at H.I.T Holon Institute of Technology is in Taiwan to attend the event. She was Dean of Design Faculty at H.I.T Holon Institute of Technology between 2004-2012 and once served as the head of History and Theory Department at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Her research deals with interrelations between Art and Politics in both totalitarian and democratic systems. She said when there is an oppression, there is no autonomy in art. She has published a few books and one of them is The Nazi Phantom: A Journey after the Third Reich
For more information on High Contrast at Taiwan Designers’ Week 2016.
Fore more about Prof.Dana Arieli,
DPP Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang said as part of the New Southbound Policy, the government of Taiwan has recently relaxed visa requirements for Southeast Asian tourists, in August, citizens of Thailand and Brunei were granted visa-free entry to Taiwan and in September, visa requirements for nationals of Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos have been relaxed. Similar visa relaxation has been previously granted to passport holders of Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and India.
DPP Legislator Liu Shyh-Fang said that with the decrease in the number of mainland Chinese tourists, maybe it is a good time for the travel agencies and tour bus operators to switch their target customers to tourists from Southeast Asia now, adding that she understands the challenges ahead with the lack of tour guides who speak languages of Southeast Asian countries. She said she will also listen to different opinions and concerns voiced by the travel agencies and tour bus operators to help solve the problems together.