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Taiwanese Rep in Mexico Holds National Day Reception


Armando Cheng and his wife Iris Su. Pulse News Mexico photo/Thérèse Margolis

By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS    

In the nine months since his arrival, Taiwanese Trade and Culture Representative in Mexico Armando Cheng has kept a very low profile, perhaps in recognition of the fact that the current administration has unusually close ties with Beijing, which is hellbent on isolating the little democratic island within the global arena.

But on Wednesday, Oct. 9, Cheng and his wife Iris Su made it clear that Taiwan is here to stay, regardless of whatever pressure China might try exert on the leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) government.

At the upscale Marquis Reforma Hotel in Colonia Juárez, Cheng offered a lavish cocktail reception to mark (one day early) Taiwan’s 108th anniversary as a sovereign nation.

“On Oct. 10, 1911, 108 years ago, our founding father, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, led the struggle to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and establish our country,” Cheng said.

“For that reason, Oct. 10 — also known as the double-10 celebration — is observed each year as the Republic of China’s (Taiwan’s oficial name, often shortened to ROC) national day.”

Cheng pointed out that when the Republic of China was founded, it constituted the first republic in all of Asia.

When the Republic of China was founded, it constituted the first republic in all of Asia.

“As we celebrate yet another anniversary of our national day, Taiwan reaffirms it solid commitment to sustainable growth and prosperity based on the values of democracy, freedom and the defense of human rights,” he told his guests.

Cheng said that Taiwan, which recognizes the interconnectivity of the global community and the need to take a proactive role in diplomatic relations, has maintained a foreign policy focused on cementing harmonious and constructive ties with partner nations such as Mexico, “which shares our same ethical values and democratic principles.”

He noted that it was through ever-broadening bilateral economic and commercial relations that the two-way friendship has continued to strengthen.

“It is worth noting that Mexico is both Taiwan’s largest trade partner and Number One destination for Taiwanese investment in Latin America,” Cheng said.

“By the same token, Taiwan today is Mexico’s 11th-largest trade partner and eighth-largest supplier, as well as its fourth-largest Asian investor nation.”

Cheng said that there are currently about 300 Taiwanese companies with capital holdings in Mexico worth more than $1 billion, providing jobs for no less than 60,000 Mexican workers.

As comembers of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Taiwan and Mexico exchange about $8 billion in goods and services each year.

Cheng also spoke about Taiwan and Mexico’s academic ties, noting that over the course of the last two decades, more than 850 Mexican students have been given scholarships by Taipei to study in that Asian country.

“Taiwan is a positive and propitiative partner, willing to strengthen its relations with Mexico in any field, and for that, I call upon the good offices of the current government to promote a greater degree of bilateral synergy to create new areas of opportunity,” Cheng said.

“Taiwan is a positive and propitiative partner, willing to strengthen its relations with Mexico in any field, and for that, I call upon the good offices of the current government to promote a greater degree of bilateral synergy to create new areas of opportunity,” Cheng said.

Cheng went on to say that “on behalf of the people and government of Taiwan,” he wanted to call on Mexico — and, in particular, its new government — to consider adapting a “more flexible and pragmatic policy in its relations with Taiwan, which would not only prove to be mutually beneficial, but would also help to strengthen the exploration of greater common interests between and potential opportunities for the two countries.”

The envoy specifically called on the AMLO administration to endorse Taipei in its bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the proposed massive 11-nation trade pact that replaced the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) when the United States dropped out two years ago.

Once fully implemented, the new trading bloc — which excludes China — will represent 495 million consumers and 13.5 percent of global GDP.

“That multilateral accord is characterized for its promotion of high-level norms in terms of quality production in order to ensure a favorable and sustainable environment  for the commercial development of the Asia-Pacific region,” Cheng said.

“In that regard, as a complementary partner of the 11-member pact, which includes Mexico, Taiwan is equipped and ready to join the CPTPP as a new member, able to comply with all requisites.”

Cheng said that if Taiwan were to join the CPTPP, his country’s investment and trade with Mexico would multiply dramatically.

Cheng said that if Taiwan were to join the CPTPP, his country’s investment and trade with Mexico would multiply dramatically.

Notwithstanding, Cheng said, there are still several serious obstacles to increased binational economic and commercial relations, including restrictive visa policies on both sides.

“For that reason,” he said, “let me once again appeal to the competent authorities in Mexico to consider a measure that would exonerate visas requirements for Taiwanese citizens, thus joining with 167 other nations and independent territories around the world, and in exchange, Taiwan would be willing to negotiate a reciprocal policy, if Mexico so wishes.”

Cheng concluded his speech by saying that much still has to be done in increasing bilateral collaboration and the friendly bonds between Taiwan and Mexico.

“I am fully convinced that, with the support of both governments and people, the two-way friendship and cooperation will produce ever-more-fruitful results for all,” he said.

Ever since Mexico first adopted its now-antiquated One-China policy back in 1972 under then-President Luis Echeverría, Taiwan has been patiently waiting for the Mexican government to recognize the fact that, not only does Mexico have a lot more in common with Taiwan than China in terms of democratic values, individual freedoms and respect for human rights, but as a trade and investment partner, Taiwan is a much more reliable friend than the expansionist Red Dragon ever was or ever could be.

In geographic terms, the 35,400-square-kilometer island (with a population of less than 24 million people) may be dwarfed by its intimidating neighbor China (with a land mass of nearly 9.4 million square kilometers and a burgeoning 1.4 billion population), but in sheer economic terms, Taiwan is a real dynamo.

With a purchasing power GDP parity of nearly $1.2 trillion in 2017, the “Little Island That Could” (even in the face of more than 1,500 medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at it from across the Strait as a reminder from Beijing that China still considers it a renegade territory that needs to be brought back into its fold, at any cost and by any means) now ranks in 21st place among the world’s economies.

And with a capitalist, market-driven economic engine fueled largely by industrial manufacturing – especially exports of electronics, machinery and petrochemicals – Taiwan now runs a trade surplus with both China and the United States.

The ROC’s foreign reserves are the sixth-largest worldwide at $460 billion, and its GDP growth in 2018 was 2.6 percent, an impressive figure for a nation that already ranks among the world’s most highly developed economies.

As for Taiwan’s economic and commercial ties with Mexico, they are considerable, especially given the fact that the Mexican government still refuses to acknowledge the ROC diplomatically.

Taiwan’s National Day, known as “Double-Ten Day” because it falls on Oct. 10, commemorates the country’s founding.

However, in 1949, Chinese Nationalist troops fled to the island of Formosa, now-known as Taiwan, after the communist-controlled government of Mao Tse-tung forced their leader Chiang Kai-shek and his followers to abandon mainland China.

Since 1949, the Taiwanese people have considered themselves to be an independent nation, although their sovereignty is sorely contested by China.

Since then, the Taiwanese people have considered themselves to be an independent nation, although their sovereignty is sorely contested by China.

In the last three years, Beijing has stepped up international political and economic pressure to try to snatch away Taiwan’s few remaining diplomatic allies in an effort to make Taipei irrelevant in the international arena.

Currently, only 16 states still have formal diplomatic relations with Taipei, following the September decision by the Solomon Islands to severe ties with the ROC, bowing to commercial threats from Beijing.

Last year, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Panama also cut of diplomatic relations with Taiwan as a result of pressure from China.

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Asia, Community, Culture, Diplomacy, History, International Relations, Lifestyles, MexicoTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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