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A Fifty-year Sister City Relationship: Tainan Welcomes Gwangju Metropolitan City Delegates


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Tainan City and Gwangju  Metropolitan City (Korea). To celebrate the event, Gwangju Metropolitan City General Director of Citizen Safety Lee Yun led a delegation composed of government officials from the international exchange, culture, and tourism divisions on a visit to Tainan City from October 5 to 7. Gwangju Metropolitan City also recommended and sent over the Im Bangwul Korean Classical Music Promotion Association to participate in the 2018 Nan Ying International Folklore Festival. The Korean delegation called on Tainan Deputy Mayor Chang Shao-yuan, Cultural Affairs Bureau Director-General Jason Yeh, and Department of Information and International Relations Deputy Director Lin Jian-xian. The group also visited cultural attractions such as the National Museum of History and Chihkan Tower, and attended the Nan Ying International Folklore Festival opening ceremony on the evening of Oct. 6.
During the meeting, Deputy Mayor Chang first welcomed the Korean delegation on behalf of Tainan's 1.9 million citizens. Chang remarked that Tainan and Gwangju share similar backgrounds and characteristics and can learn much from each other. Both cities are ancient historical cities with abundant cultural resources, and were the administration and culture centers of their respective nations at some point in history. In addition, Tainan and Gwangju have both been focusing on green energy development in recent years. Shalun Green Energy Science City, which is currently under construction, will become an important hub for green energy R&D and related industries in Taiwan. Tainan City is actively promoting solar power generation as well. The government not only set up solar power panels on top of public buildings, but also encourages residents to take part in the projects by offering subsidies. Currently, the total amount of solar power generated has reached the equivalent of that generated by three Zengwun Reservoirs.
General Director Lee expressed that the 50th anniversary of sister city relationship between Tainan and Gwangju is very significant. Hopefully the two cities can see more frequent interactions and closer bonds after the anniversary celebrations since contact between the two cities have been relatively few for a period of time in the past. Lee further remarked that at the moment travelers have to go through many transfers if they want to visit the other city. He hopes that there will be direct flights between Tainan and Gwangju in the future so that it would be more convenient to travel between the two cities. He then explained that Gwangju Metropolitan City has a population of 1.85 million people and is the sixth largest city in Korea. The city is known as the "City of Democracy, Human Rights and Peace”, the "Capital of Culture", and a "friendly green-energy city". Due to the similar size and development trends, Lee expressed that he feels very at home here in Tainan. 
Tainan City and Gwangju Metropolitan City signed the sister city agreement in 1968. Both cities have streets named after each other - Tainan City has Guangzhou Road (“Gwangju Road”), and Gwangju Metropolitan City has "Daenam-daero" (“Tainan Avenue”). The year 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship, and to honor this event, the two cities jointly organized a special exhibition on the culture and tourism of Gwangju, a human rights book fair, and a Gwangju handicraft classroom to let Tainan residents know more about this sister city.