Decision details

Decision details

Twinning with a locality on the island of Taiwan

Decision Maker: Council

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Decisions:

Due to other engagements Councillors Harris and Simm left the meeting at the start of this debate; and Councillor Aziz left the meeting before the vote was taken.

Councillor Goddard, seconded by Councillor Wade proposed the submitted motion as set out in the agenda and briefing note.

Councillor Clarkson, seconded by Councillor Tanner proposed the amendment as set out in the report in the briefing note.

After debate and on being put to the vote the amendment was agreed.

After debate and on being put to the vote the motion as amended was agreed.

 

Council resolved to adopt the following motion:

Council notes:

1.    That Oxford currently has twin towns and cities in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. However, at present it has no such links with anywhere in East Asia.

2.    That no town or city in the UK is currently twinned with any town or city on the island of Taiwan.

3.    That amongst the achievements of the inhabitants of Taiwan are:

A.   Building what Freedom House describes as a “vibrant and competitive democratic system has allowed three peaceful transfers of power between rival parties since 2000” with “generally robust protections” for civil liberties. The organisation gives Taiwan a higher on their Global Freedom Index than the USA, France or Spain.

B.   Creating an “economic miracle” by which real GDP per capita on the island has increased more than 30 times since 1950. This make it one of the five fastest growing economies in the whole world during that period.

C.   Becoming the first jurisdiction in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

D.   A World beating response to Coronavirus. At the time of writing, there have been just seven confirmed fatalities from COVID-19 on the island, despite it having a population of 24 million and being in close proximity to the initial outbreak in Wuhan.

E.   In April 2020, donating 7 million face masks to European countries, including the UK, dealing with a shortage due to COVID-19.

4.    That Taiwan is the UK’s second fastest growing export market and that the UK government is undertaking free trade talks with the Taiwan authorities.

5.    Cities in numerous countries which take the same diplomatic stance towards Taiwan have ‘sister cities’ on the island.

Council believes that:

1.    It should reaffirm the viewthat: “Twin city links give citizens the chance to engage with other cultures and ways of life, and make these experiences more accessible through established contacts and networks in the linked cities. They also bring benefit to cities through knowledge-sharing activities, where people can learn from how problems are tackled in other countries, exchange ideas and understand different viewpoints.”

 

2.    That it would be worthwhile for Oxford to explore the possibility of establishing friendship links with a locality in Taiwan with a view to expanding its international links to encompass East Asia in the long term.

 

3.    That a municipality-to-municipality relationship is separate from the UK’s official diplomatic position of recognising the People’s Republic of China and avoiding dealing with the Taiwan authorities on a government to government basis. Oxford is grateful for the friendship of people from throughout the People’s Republic of China and the contribution its citizens make to the city as visitors, students and residents.

 

Council resolves that Oxford City Council hereby encourages those interested to explore the possibility of establishing grassroots friendship links, in a similar way to those developed with Ramallah, with a longer term view of a twinning agreement with an appropriate municipality in Taiwan.

 

Publication date: 29/07/2020

Date of decision: 20/07/2020

Decided at meeting: 20/07/2020 - Council