TAIPEI, 12 OCTOBER 2020 (CNA) — Taiwan reopened its representative office in Guam on Saturday after a three-year closure, vowing to donate more medical equipment to the United States territory to help it fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is hoped that the office will not only increase bilateral exchanges between Taiwan and the U.S. but also help Taiwan leverage the strategic location of Guam in the Western Pacific to increase multilateral exchanges within the region, said Foreign Minister Joseph Wu in a congratulatory video.

To celebrate the reestablishment of the office, which took place on the Double Ten National Day of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Wu said, the country will donate four Taiwan-made body temperature scanners to Guam.

The equipment will be sent to the Guam government, its parliament and medical facilities to help better control the spread of COVID-19, Wu said.

Before the pandemic, 30,000 people from Taiwan traveled to Guam each year, making Taiwan Guam’s third largest source of tourists, according to Wu.

Governor of Guam Lourdes Leon Guerrero also said that she hopes the office will help the two sides engage in cultural and economic exchanges and improve services.

“The reopening of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Guam is a testament of the strong ties between our governments,” she said.

The office was closed in August 2017 due to budget constraints and manpower considerations, with its functions temporarily taken over by Taiwan’s embassy in Palau.

But due to the growing partnership between Taiwan and the U.S., the strategic importance of the Pacific region to Taiwan and increases in the Foreign Ministry’s budget since 2018, the ministry decided to reopen the office.

The Guam office will be headed by Paul Chen, a career foreign service officer. It will be Taiwan’s 13th representative office in the U.S., aside from those in Washington D.C., New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Chicago, Honolulu, Denver, and Miami…. PACNEWS

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