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Apr 4, 2000

Taiwan ambassador says farewell

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He’s been here a little over two years and during that time his government has been Belize’s biggest single benefactor. Whether it’s roads, houses or aquaculture, Taiwan and its busy ambassador have been at the forefront of the nation’s development. Today News Five’s Stewart Krohn caught up with Kuo Hsiung Shen as he prepared to head to his next post.

Kuo Hsiung Shen, Taiwanese Ambassador

“Taiwan is only one of the countries which come to help Belize. Other than Taiwan, the Belize Government has many technical cooperation programs, which we maintain or carry out with the other friendly countries as well as the international organizations, for instance the IDB. So I don’t think it will be too much different than our country, it’s no problem.”

Stewart Krohn, Reporting

“Ambassador, very recently, the opposition in Taiwan has won its first national election. It campaigned on a platform of greatly curtailing the amount of foreign aid it makes available around the world. Do you think this change of policy is going to have an impact on relations between Taiwan and Belize?”

Kou Hsiung Shen

“Let me tell, you that right after the victory, the opposition being formally announced by the election committee, at the first speech delivered in a press conference, the president elected, Mr. Chen Shui-bian, said among other things–very clearly–he said that he would use Taiwan’s economic strengths to help those countries of the third world to facilitate their economic development. This is very clearly mentioned in his speeches, among other things. That means his new administration will be continuing the foreign aid,”

Stewart Krohn

“Turning from the government side to the private sector, do you have any regrets at all that perhaps during your time here the Taiwanese investment community wasn’t more active and didn’t make real substantive investments in the country instead of kind of land speculation and like that?”

Kou Hsiung Shen

“Well I think many factors affected the investment from abroad, especially from Taiwan. And I think some part of the factor could be improved on side of the Government of Belize. For instance at that moment Belize has lacks the one stop shops, something like that, which we set up in Taiwan. In order to attract the foreign capital to invest, we set up a special agency, which is responsible for the foreign investment. Whenever you want to invest in Taiwan, you just come up to that agency and you get everything answered. You just submit your application and you get approval and that approval is final. And you know that you don’t need to bother yourself contacting every pertaining agency in the country. But right now in Belize there is nothing like that. I would talk several times to the responsible officer, the high-ranking officer of the Belize Government and they’ve all agreed to that. But I think sometimes the legislation or the action of the government may take sometime to make it?realize it. So I think that part can be improved.”

Ambassador Shen leaves Belize Wednesday and after a brief stopover in the United States will take up the post as Taiwan’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Japan. He asked that we convey his profound sense of gratitude to both the government and people of Belize for the kindness and cooperation that was shown to him while he served here.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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