The Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation, which was inaugurated in January, started formal operations yesterday at its office in Hsintien City, Taipei County.
Presidential Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (ªô¸q¤¯) said at a ceremony that the foundation will further augment the substantive relations between Taiwan and the Tibetan government-in-exile headed by the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India.
He said that the government regards the foundation as the counterpart of the Tibet Religious Foundation of the Dalai Lama, which has operated in Taipei since 1997 as the representative office of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation Chairman Tsegyam said that the Dalai Lama’s two trips to Taiwan since 1997 signify the friendship between Taipei and the government-in-exile.
He noted that although an invitation for a third visit to Taiwan from the Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation to the Dalai Lama as been forwarded to him, the Tibetan spiritual leader is unable to accept in the immediate future because of his tight schedule.
Tsegyam described the establishment of the foundation as a further breakthrough in Tibetan-Taiwanese relations.
The chairman of the Taiwan-Tibet Exchange Foundation, Day Sheng-tong, who is also the chairman of the National Association of Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, said that efforts will be made to promote exchanges between Taiwan and the Dalai Lama’s government in various fields, including tourism, education, human rights and humanitarian assistance.
He stated that the foundation will enlist support from the government and the private sector to introduce Tibetan religious culture and provide medical, agricultural technological, educational and vocational training assistance.
Day added that the foundation will also provide services for some 2,000 Tibetans who are now living in Taiwan.
Other prominent figures invited to the ceremony included Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (¿½¬üµ^), vice chairwoman of the foundation, ruling Democratic Progressive Party Secretary-General Chang Chun-hsiung (±i«T¶¯), Examination Yuan President Yao Chia-wen («À¹Å¤å) and Central News Agency Chairman Su Cheng-ping (Ä¬¥¿¥).