The Taipei City Government was happy to welcome a delegation of 23 officials from Houston, Texas, led by Annise D. Parker, the mayor of the sister city of Taipei, on July 17, 2015. Parker’s delegation met with Taipei Mayor Wen-je Ko at City Hall from 4:00 to 4:30 p.m. During their time at city hall, they were also accompanied by Department of Economic Development Commissioner Lin Chong-chieh , representative of Department of Civil Affairs and Yao Ching-yu, who is the head of International Affairs Council. Parker’s visit recognized the long-running friendship and exchanges between the two cities and helped elevate the existing economic cooperation. It also underscored the relevance of EVA Airways’ direct flights between northern Taiwan and the most populous city in Texas. After introducing the members of her delegation, Parker noted that Houston is home to a large number of ethnic Taiwanese. Ko noted that their two cities have comparable populations and have enjoyed 54 years of sister city status, expressing hope for more exchanges in the future. Asked what “the best” thing in Taipei is, Ko told Parker that the city’s best attraction is its people – but he also listed good public order and a crime clearance rate he said was near 100 percent, and he recommended experiencing Taiwanese cuisine and its diverse “eating culture.” Parker responded that she also likes to say Houston’s most attractive feature is its citizens, and added that she hopes to emulate Taipei when it comes to safety and security. Ko also invited Houstonians to take advantage of Taipei’s scholarships to come learn Chinese in the city. Ken Li, chair-elect of the Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Development for Asia and Australia, noted that Houston also offers scholarships to Taiwanese citizens and pointed to exchanges of students as an area the sister cities can further develop. Introducing Taipei’s artists-in-residents program, Ko expressed hopes that a Houstonian would one day join its ranks. Peter Hwang, head of the Houston-Taipei Society, requested more information on such educational and cultural partnerships to push exchanges forward. The fruitful visit promoted city diplomacy between Taipei and Houston, reaffirmed their sister city bond, and showed the importance of the friendship with Parker and her city to Taipei.
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