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Women are just as capable: Taiwan’s representative to Germany, Hwa-yue Chen, led her team in promoting bilateral relations

Women are just as capable: Taiwan’s representative to Germany, Hwa-yue Chen, led her team in promoting bilateral relations
Release unit: Taipei Broadcasting Station
Release date: July 12, 2014
Contact person: Ci-Ming Chen
Telephone: (02)2595-1233
In the early days, most diplomatic personnel from Taiwan were men. Though more women have passed the examination of diplomatic personnel in recent years, female overseas ambassadors are still very rare. Hwa-yue Chen is currently Taiwan’s ambassador in Germany, our biggest trading partner in Europe. Taipei Broadcasting Station’s reporter, Ci-Ming Chen, taking the opportunity to participate in Germany’s “2014 Global Media Forum”, specially conducted an interview with Hwa-yue Chen. Ambassador Chen spoke of her initial goal of joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 40 years ago, the difficult bilateral relation between the two countries then, and the visa waiver granted to our citizens by the European Union today. She also spoke of Germany’s institutions, offering observations on civil society, urban construction and energy policies. The interview will be aired at 2 pm on July 13th (Sunday), on Taipei Broadcasting Station FM 93.1’s “Taipei’s dialogue with the world”; do stay tuned.
Hwa-yue Chen passed the examination and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1974; her specialty was the German language. Recalling the time when she first joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Taiwan was in the most difficult diplomatic situation. In those days, Taiwan could only use the “Far East News Agency” as its resident office in Germany, and visas issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of both countries were presented on a separate sheet of paper. In 1997, the Embassy Office was renamed “Taipei Representative Office in the Federal Republic of Germany”, and in January 2011, European countries granted the citizens of the Republic of China visa waiver, with lots of support from Germany. Hwa-yue Chen believes that such long term deep-rooted diplomatic work, and Taiwan’s development, prosperity and progress, have won us visa waivers from 140 countries. The small built and tremendously intelligent Hwa-yue Chen considers herself to be the country’s best promoter. She believes in visiting more places, speaking more and doing more to actively promote Taiwan. She establishes connections, attracts foreign investment, and makes friends with the German people from all walks of life through various professional topics.
Hwa-yue Chen believes that being a female diplomatic worker in Europe is advantageous since Europeans have great respect for women. She is able to demonstrate the Taiwanese values of gender equality and liberal democracy. In Germany, she has to somewhat disobey an old teaching from her father, which is “pride hurts, and modesty benefits”. Whenever she invites German friends for dinner, she will sincerely tell them that we serve only the most delicious and authentic Chinese food to our honorable guests. Gifts are also the best that can be found to represent Taiwan. Therefore, she has helped her German friends to learn more about our country and to develop a greater interest in Taiwan.
In 2013, bilateral trade between Taiwan and Germany reached USD 13.9 billion, making Germany our largest trading country in the European Union, clearly showing the intimate economic and trade relation between the two countries. In recent years, the two countries have signed the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS), avoidance of double taxation agreement, cooperation agreement to fight custom fraud, mutual legal assistance and agreements on extradition, various cooperative academic programs, joint research on the southwest coast of Taiwan, the flammable ice development plan, etc., showing how the relationship between the two countries are getting closer.
Hwa-yue Chen said that Germany’s mature civil society is the third largest force apart from its politics and economy. Non-governmental organizations are very active in fighting for women’s rights and ecological conservation, and against nuclear power. However, these organizations make full exchange of views and reach consensus on policies without resorting to violence, portraying a commendable civil society situation. The cooperation of the German people with the government’s energy policies is also admirable. Also, Germany does not have megacities; the consistent infrastructure has minimized the differences between the urban and rural areas, creating the desirable “city ruralization and village urbanization”. Taiwan can learn from these strong values.
Since she assumed office in Germany in July of last year, Hwa-yue Chen has been receiving one Taiwanese delegation per week on average in Berlin for the past year, which shows how frequent various sectors of our country visit Germany. Germany’s successful technical and vocational education, in particular, is something that we can learn from, and exchange programs are already planned for this year. Cloud Gate Dance Theatre and other arts group have been invited to perform in Germany’s major arts festivals, providing a good opportunity for Germans to further understand Taiwanese arts and culture.
Ambassador Hwa-yue Chen’s interview with Taipei Broadcasting Station will be aired on “Taipei’s dialogue with the world” (FM 93.1) at 2 pm, July 13th (Sunday). Do stay tuned.