TAIPEI (CNA) — Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) left for Israel on Feb. 24 to take part in the 33rd annual International Mayors Conference.

Ko said before departing from Taoyuan International Airport that aside from attending the conference he will also meet with members of the Defense Committee of the Israeli parliament and visit Israeli startups, especially in the autonomous car industry.

The mayor also plans to visit the Weizmann Institute of Science, a leading multidisciplinary basic research institution that has been associated with many Israeli Nobel Prize winners.

Previously, Ko said Israel has been a leader in water resources management, information security, and industrial innovation despite being a small country in the Middle East, and his visit was aimed at seeing how a small country can be so successful in difficult conditions.

The annual International Mayors Conference is a global meeting of government, technology and energy leaders that studies leading examples of sustainable development.

The Taipei mayor also plans to take a trip to the United States next month during which he will visit Washington, Atlanta, New York and Boston.

By Wu Jui-chi and Evelyn Kao