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Speech by MAC Minister Lai at the Opening Ceremony of the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council

Premier Wu, Legislative Yuan Vice President Tseng, Council Chairman
Lin, Council Directors and Supervisors, Distinguished Guests, Friends from the Media,
Good Morning!

Taiwan and Hong Kong have followed widely divergent paths of
development. Taiwan was once the best practice example of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Principle
of People’s Livelihood. The government of the Republic of China promoted land reform,
enabling farmers to till their own land; Hong Kong, on the other hand, became a
colony of the British Empire in 1842. Because the land belonged to the Queen, the
Chinese people in Hong Kong were considered leaseholders at that time. Yet Taiwan
and Hong Kong also share qualities in common. The quintessence of Chinese culture—the
traditional Chinese script—was preserved both in Taiwan and in Hong Kong. Though
the people in the two places speak different dialects, they share the same written
language. Moreover, these two Chinese societies have developed ways of life and
political systems vastly different from those of mainland China.

This origin may explain why the two most widely circulated and
loved depictions of Hong Kong in the Chinese world were both created by people from
Taiwan, one being Lo Ta-Yu's song "Pearl of the Orient," and the other Shi Shu-Ching's
literature masterpiece "The Trilogy of Hong Kong." The people of Taiwan have written
history for Hong Kong and helped the people of Hong Kong sing out their inner voices
in this age.

Hong Kong culture has also had a significant impact on Taiwan.
During the years when Lo Ta-Yu was singing "Love Song 1980," Hong Kong's New Wave
cinema washed over young artists and writers in Taiwan and inspired Taiwan’s New
Wave cinema. The most true-to-life nativist movies in Taiwan's cinematographic history,
such as"Son's Big Doll," "Dust in the Wind," and "A Time To Live, A Time To Die,"were
all influenced by Hong Kong cinema.

So Taiwan and Hong Kong know each other well but at the same
time alienated. Today, we gather here to turn a new page in the history of Taiwan-Hong
Kong relations. The Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council (THEC)
will be the counterpart of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Cooperation
and Promotion Council (ECCPC). In the future, the Councils will promote negotiations
and deepen exchanges on issues involving government authority on the two sides.

I am delighted, and tremendously honored, to attend the opening
ceremony for the THEC. I would like to first thank Premier Wu and Legislative Yuan
Vice President Tseng for their kind support, and I am also grateful to THEC Chairman
Lin for agreeing so resolutely to shoulder this momentous historic mission. I would
also like to thank all of the Council directors, supervisors and colleagues for
your careful and enthusiastic preparations, which have made possible the birth of
the THEC as a new platform for promoting Taiwan-Hong Kong exchanges and cooperation.

Last year (2009), Hong Kong was Taiwan's fourth largest trading
partner, with two-way trade volume amounting to US$30.6 billion and visits between
the two sides reaching over 2.86 million person-times. Exchanges have also been
extremely close in such areas as finance, investment, transportation, education,
and culture, which inevitably derived many issues that need to be properly resolved
through the joint efforts of the two sides. Restrained by the objective environment
in the past, Taiwan and Hong Kong lacked smooth channels of interaction and communication
on many matters involving the exercise of public authority. This hindered a proper
and prompt resolution to problems that emerged. The THEC is founded to meet policy
needs for improving and strengthening Taiwan-Hong Kong relations. We believe that,
now that the THEC is established and starting to operate normally, more efficient
communication of views and handling of issues between Taiwan and Hong Kong will
be seen. The THEC will also further deepen the scope and level of economic and cultural
exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. In the future, we will also ask
the Mainland Affairs Council's (MAC's) Bureau of Hong Kong Affairs to actively coordinate
with and assist the THEC in developing relations with various sectors in Hong Kong.

The establishment and operation of the THEC symbolizes the advancement
of Taiwan-Hong Kong relations to a new level. I would like to emphasize that the
MAC will do its utmost to support the operations of the THEC. In closing, on behalf
of the MAC, I wish the THEC a prosperous future. I also wish you all the best of
health and success. Thank you.