By Joseph Yeh, The China Post
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The visiting United States environmental chief yesterday lauded the Taiwanese government’s efforts in environmental protection over the past decades that ultimately made Taiwan a worldwide environmental leader. During her speech at National Taiwan University (NTU) in Taipei yesterday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, the first American Cabinet-level official to visit Taiwan in nearly 14 years, praised the close cooperation between the EPAs of the two sides.
Taipei and Washington have been working closely on environmental issues for more than two decades since a cooperation agreement between the U.S. EPA and its Taiwanese counterpart was signed in 1993, McCarthy said. “Since the signing of a cooperative agreement in 1993, we have exchanged expertise on air and water quality, chemical safety, soil contamination, e-waste recycling and more.” “Today, Taiwan is earning recognition as a worldwide environmental leader,” she noted. The administrator said her ongoing trip in Taipei is not only meant to celebrate 20 years of U.S.-Taiwan partnerships and praising Taiwan’s successful experience in dealing with environmental issues, but is also to show the U.S. support for Taiwan’s newly launched International Environmental Partnership program. She noted that the latest program will be a perfect opportunity to advance two-way cooperation on environmental issues for years to come and to provide “a real step up to advance our engagement.”
“Instead of just working domestically, we are going to allow the expertise of the U.S. and particularly Taiwan to be shared with the region and to share the model and the work that has been going on so successfully in Taiwan for so many years,” she added. The last American Cabinet secretary to visit the country was then-Transportation Secretary Rodney Slate in June 2000. The U.S. environmental chief was reportedly originally scheduled to visit Taiwan last December. The visit was reportedly canceled after U.S. officials expressed discontent that local media had made the trip public before McCarthy was set to arrive. The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan, said then that McCarthy planned to visit Taiwan “at a later time.”