The Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Brunei recently celebrated the 109th Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic of China (Taiwan) at The Empire Brunei’s Indera Samudra Grand Hall.

The representative of the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Brunei Darussalam Andrew H. C. Lee, in his welcoming speech, said that Taiwan hopes to continuously facilitate and promote mutually beneficial relations with Brunei.

This anniversary of Taiwan comes in a context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which poses challenges to the national economy and pushes towards an unprecedented global crisis.

Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Brunei Darussalam Andrew H. C. Lee (C) in a group photo with special guests and officials during the ceremony. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

“As the global community continues to fight against COVID-19, many countries are still wrestling with it by implementing strict measures. The magnitude and speed of collapse in the activity that has followed is unlike anything experienced in our lifetime,” he said.

According to Lee, Taiwan has effectively contained the spread of COVID-19 through advance deployment, the provision of open and transparent information, high level of awareness among the population, and a democratic mechanism ensuring mutual trust between the government and the people, who has voluntarily become the principal agents in anti-epidemic efforts.

“We can be proud and say cautiously that what a blessing to live and work in countries like Taiwan and Brunei, where daily lives go on as usual,” he lauded.

Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Brunei Darussalam Andrew H. C. Lee delivering his opening remarks. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

He also attributed the success in containing and responding to the pandemic to the expertise and efforts of the front-line doctors, nurses, health workers and other ward staff.

“Any effort to honor them will pale in comparison to the sacrifice and contribution every one of them has made by dedicating their days and nights and risking their lives for public safety. For this, we pay our salute and gratitude to the real superheroes,” he said.

In early July, the Taipei Economic & Cultural Office in Brunei launched a series of donations of medical supplies to various hospitals, schools and organisations in Brunei in an effort to combat the pandemic.

Moreover, the office partnering with the Taiwan Business Association in Brunei Darussalam and Taiwan Graduates Association of Brunei Darussalam donated 174 wheelchairs to hospitals in the country.

Some of the invited guests during the dinner reception. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Inspired by the commonly shared value and long tradition of generosity and benevolence between Taiwan and Brunei the office also donated medical items to 8 Chinese schools and surgical masks to Chinese, Chamber of Commerce in BSB, National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCIBD), and BIMP-EAGA Business Council.

In his speech, he further spoke about Taiwan’s commitment to implementing the New Southbound Policy that looks to deepen Taiwan’s relationship with South East Asia.

“Taiwan attaches great importance to its relations with Brunei and other countries in the region under The New Southbound Policy. Much progress has been made over the years. In the first half of 2020, substantive ties between Taiwan and New Southbound Policy partner countries have continued to grow. Two-way trade totaled US$52 billion,” he shared.

Lee added that Taiwan made 88 investments in partner countries worth US$1.4 billion while partner countries made 277 investments in Taiwan worth US$189 million.

Some of the invited guests during the dinner reception. Image: Fazizul Haqimie

Lee also acknowledged the friendship shared between the sultanate and the island over the past years and hoped that the existing cooperative relations can boost air connectivity and the tourism industry.

“Thanks to Royal Brunei Airlines direct flight resumed in December 2018, more than 100 Taiwanese travel agents visited Brunei for a site survey to promote Brunei tourist industry in 2019, with two-way visit reaching nearly 10,000 people, compared to 3,300 people in 2018,” he shared.

Tourism is a sector that Taiwan is eager to build and sees as a rapidly developing sphere in which they announced the extension of their visa-free entry treatment offered to Bruneians visiting Taiwan for up to 14 days and until July 2021, the representative said during the event.

Taiwan’s deep commitment to energise its bilateral relations with Brunei and hopes to continuously facilitate and promote mutually beneficial relations with Brunei.

During the reception, guests were entertained with lucky draws offering exciting prizes such as return air tickets and health check package, among others.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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