Foreign ministry to invite diplomats to Hualien to boost tourism

The whale-watching in Hualien. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

Taipei, March 5 (CNA) Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on Monday said the ministry plans to arrange a trip to Hualien for foreign ambassadors and representatives in Taiwan to promote tourism, in the wake of an earthquake that damaged parts of the eastern county in February.

“We hope to arrange the trip as soon as possible as many foreign representatives have not visited Hualien, which is a beautiful place,” Wu told reporters.

Wu has told Jeremy Liang (梁洪昇), head of the ministry’s Department of Protocol to make the trip a top priority.

“The trip to Hualien will help them better understand Taiwan and will also be a significant step in helping the local tourism industry recover from the quake more quickly,” he added.

The magnitude 6 earthquake on Feb. 6 left 17 dead and 285 injured, with many subsequent aftershocks. One of the effects of the quake has been its impact on tourism in the county, its main source of income.

Wu made the comments as he toured the ministry’s headquarters in Taipei for the first time since assuming office last Monday. The visit was organized so the minister could wish his staff Chinese New Year greetings and establish a rapport, according to the ministry.

Wu served as National Security Council secretary-general and secretary-general to the president after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) assumed office in May 2016. He is also a former top envoy to the U.S. but has not previously worked in the foreign ministry.

Former president Ma visited Taroko, well-known attraction in Hualien, on Feb. 3. (Photo courtesy of CNA)

(By Joseph Yeh)