Taiwan-Russia relations progressing well: representative

2009-06-08 07:03 PM

Taipei, June 8 (CNA) Russia's top diplomat in Taipei said Monday that bilateral relations between Taiwan and Russia are progressing well and that the opening of a retail store in Taipei for the oldest Russian winery is a further step in the promotion of exchanges between the two countries.

"Bilateral relations between Taiwan and Russia are progressing now. Compared to 15 years ago when there was not much contact, the relations are moving in a very good way, " said Sergey N. Gubarev, head of the Representative Office in Taipei for the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation.


Gubarev made the remarks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the first local retail store of Massandra, the oldest winery in Russia which supplies top quality wine to Russian Czars and the royal family.

The wine store will contribute to the promotion of bilateral trade relations, Gubarev told the Central News Agency.

The Representative Office in Taipei for the Moscow-Taipei Coordination Commission on Economic and Cultural Cooperation serves as the de facto Russian embassy in Taiwan in the absence of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Noting that bilateral trade between Taiwan and Russia reached a record US$4 billion in 2008, Gubarev said that there is close economic cooperation between the two sides. He cited as an example the fact that Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, the world's largest provider of electronics manufacturing services, has invested US$50 million to build a computer assembly plant in St. Petersburg.

Also, the Taiwanese company Green Country was recently awarded a contract to construct an aquarium in Vladivostok, which is scheduled to open in 2011, he added.

People-to-people exchanges are also vibrant, with some 300 Taiwanese students in Russia and 200 Russian students in Taiwan, Gubarev said, adding that around 10,000 to 12,000 Taiwanese travelers go to Russia each year.

Alexander Braslavskiy, president of the Russian Business Development Center in Taiwan and owner of the wine store, said that he hopes the store will help bridge the cultural gap between Taiwan and Russia and serve as a platform for people in Taiwan to better understand the history of Russia.

Established in 1894 under the order of Russian Czar Nicholas II, the Massandra winery is frequently honored as the finest in Russia.

The winery holds a Guinness World Record for its collection of over a million bottles of both Russian and Western European wines.

(By Rachel Chan)