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A New Sister City after Thirteen Years: Tainan City and South Pacific Wotje Atoll Becomes Sister Cities


Tainan City and Wotje Atoll (Republic of the Marshall Islands) formalized their sister city relationship on October 2 at the signing ceremony held at Yonghua Civic Center, Tainan City Government. This is the first city to become sister cities with Tainan in 13 years. During the ceremony, Tainan City Mayor Li Men-yen and Wotje Atoll Mayor Ota Kisino jointly signed the sister city agreement, which will serve as the basis on which the two cities will conduct collaborations and exchanges in areas such as agriculture, culture, education, economy, and trade in the future.
Mayor Li started off by warmly welcoming the guests that came all the way from Wotje Atoll. He pointed out that this year also marks the 20th anniversary of formal diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Taiwanese people treasure this friendship, and Li especially thanked Marshall Islands for speaking out for Taiwan at the major international WHA conference and supporting Taiwan’s bid for WHA observer status, as this kind of support is very meaningful to Taiwan.
Mayor Li remarked that Tainan is where Taiwan's history began; and Wotje Atoll is famous in the Marshall Islands for its rich culture and history. In addition, both cities have long historical ties with Japan. For example, there are many Japanese Occupation Period buildings that still exist in Tainan; and in Wotje Atoll, there are a lot of ruins of Japanese oversea flight bases. Furthermore, both cities have abundant and diverse natural ecosystems. Li expressed that since the two cities share so many common traits, he hopes that both sides can assist each other and have frequent exchanges that will benefit both parties.
Wotje Atoll Mayor Kisino said that he was very excited to establish this connection with Tainan City and looks forward to future collaborations. He remarked that he will work hard to actualize the projects and activities in the agreement and improve the lives of the people in both Wotje Atoll and Tainan. 
Tainan has 43 sister cities and friendship cities. Wotje Atoll city is Tainan’s second sister city from a country which Taiwan has formal diplomatic ties with (the other is Zacapa City, Guatemala), thus making this agreement signing very significant. Escorted by Deputy Chief of the Marshall Islands Mission Anjanette Kattil, Mayor Ota Kisino and a delegation of five attended the signing ceremony. Mayor Li represented the Tainan City government and was accompanied by the City Government Deputy Secretary-general Hsien-Wei Lee and Department of Information and International Relations Director Hsu Shu-fen. Tainan City Council Speaker Lai Mei-hui also attended the ceremony to act as witness of the agreement signing.
Wotje Atoll is an atoll made up of 75 islands and is one of the largest islands in Marshall Islands. The lagoon in the center is 624 square kilometers, about 1/3 of the area of Tainan City. Island residents are known for their handicrafts which have a unique local style and are popular among tourists. In addition to participating in the signing ceremony, the Wotje Atoll delegation also visited the Southern Taiwan Science Park and the National Museum of History. On October 6, the delegation attended the opening ceremony of Nan Ying International Folklore Festival. The JEBO Traditional Dancing Troupe from Marshall Islands also performed at the festival. This is the first time the Republic of the Marshall Islands participated in the event.