Taiwan's top envoy to S'pore returns home ahead of his retirement

TAIPEI - Taiwan's top envoy to Singapore Hsieh Fa-dah yesterday returned home to prepare for his retirement.

The 65-year-old diplomat was sent off by hundreds of overseas Taiwanese who thanked him for promoting closer relations between Taiwan and Singapore, at Changi Airport yesterday.

Hsieh's wife Wu Feng-mei was also with Hsieh and had tears in her eyes as they said goodbye to Taiwanese business representatives and staff from the Taiwan representative office in Singapore at the airport.

The Taiwan government has already announced that Deputy Secretary-General of the National Security Council Jacob Chang will soon fill the vacancy left by Hsieh and be the new representative in Singapore.

Commenting on Hsieh's accomplishments, Chen Shu-chin, head of the Taipei Business Association in Singapore, told a CNA reporter yesterday that Hsieh has done a great job in promoting closer ties between the two sides over the past years in various fields, most notably the signing of a free trade agreement in 2013.

The agreement, officially titled "Agreement and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu on Economic Partnership" or ASTEP, took effect in 2014.

In advancing bilateral cultural ties, Chen also pointed out that Hsieh had participated in many cultural events.

The Taiwanese community in Singapore can feel how much he has done to promote closer and stronger relations between the countries, Chen added.

Hsieh has a rich economic and trading background.

Before taking over as Taiwan's top envoy to Singapore in May 2012, he served as deputy minister of the Council for Economic Planning and Development, vice minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and was Taiwan's representative to Switzerland.

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