September 4, 2016
Raf Terwingen, Co-chair of the Belgium-Taiwan Friendship Group, is leading a delegation to Taiwan from September 4 to September 9 at the invitation of the Republic of China (Taiwan) government.
The delegation is visiting to learn more about the ROC’s political and economic development, infrastructure, sustainable development, social welfare policies, innovative industries, and cross-strait relations, and gain a better understanding of ROC policies. The visit heralds an improvement in bilateral parliamentary exchanges.
The delegation will have an audience with President Tsai Ing-wen and visit the Legislative Yuan, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Ministry of Labor, and Mainland Affairs Council. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Chih-Chung Wu will host a luncheon in their honor. The delegation will also visit sites of cultural and economic interests such as the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101, National Applied Research Laboratories, and Hsinchu Science Park.
Other members of the delegation, representing Belgium’s ruling and opposition parties, are: Stefaan Vercamer, member of the Committee of Social Affairs; Christie Morreale, Senator and member of the Walloon Parliament; Rita Bellens, vice-president of the Committee of External Relations; Gilles Foret, president of the Committee of Scientific and Technology Questions; Benoît Friart, member of the Committee of Economy; and Isabelle Moinnet-Joiret, vice-president of the Committee of Agriculture and Tourism of the Walloon Parliament.
Terwingen serves not only as the President of the Committee of Proceedings, but is also Mayor of Maasmechelen, which is a sister city to Ruifang District in Taiwan. The delegation will also visit the Ruifang District Office as well as the Little Flowers of Taiwan Folk Dancing Group.
The Belgian Parliament has long been amicable toward the ROC. In November 2015, it passed a resolution in support of the ROC’s calls for regional peace, rapprochement in cross-strait relations, the signing of a bilateral investment agreement and economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and the European Union, and Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations. The passage of this resolution is particularly meaningful in that it shows a strengthening of support for closer Taiwan-EU trade relations. (E)