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City Diplomacy Forum—central and local governments working together to promote urban cooperation

On December 25, the Taipei City Government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly held the City Diplomacy Forum to promote cooperation in urban diplomacy. The forum gathered local government representatives from New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Taichung City and Kaohsiung City, who talked about the achievements of the six municipalities in promoting urban diplomacy and their experiences hosting foreign dignitaries.
The meeting was opened by a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who, in addition to thanking the six municipalities for their participation in such events as Asia Pacific Culture Day, also cited many examples of successful cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the cities, including the Taiwan Local Councils Representatives Community Forum, EcoMobility 2017 and the 2nd Seminar on Taiwan–EU Relations. Using the city as a basis for participation in the international community can help improve our diplomatic status and visibility, so all Taiwanese cities should actively promote bilateral visits and exchanges with existing sister cities.
Next, the city representatives discussed sister-city collaborations and successes with international exchanges in 2017, before announcing important international activities coming up in 2018. Kaohsiung City and Tainan City talked of their local characteristics, including the warm hospitality of their people; Taichung City used statistical studies to illustrate the importance of inter-city cooperation; Taoyuan City discussed how being an Airport City can be used to promote urban diplomacy; New Taipei City explained how they have infused education with information on cultures from many different countries, and talked of student participation in national diplomacy; Taipei City Government suggested that the six municipalities could collaborate on the reception of foreign dignitaries and could also cooperate at international conferences and exchange information.
During the meeting, some city representatives noted that advanced countries such as Japan and South Korea station senior diplomatic staff in local governments for one or two years at a time as ambassadors for international relations, providing advice and assistance. It was suggested that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs might want to introduce such a system and strengthen its ties with local governments.
The forum has promoted exchange between the six municipalities and enabled them to share their experiences of urban diplomacy. In addition, it has given the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the opportunity to strengthen ties with local governments, promote exchange between central government and local governments, and work with local governments to promote diplomatic work.