A New Sister City-Belize City / 城市新姐妹──貝里斯市
A New Sister City-Belize City
Written by Yu-Fong Wang Photos by Chia-Tse Kao
After rapid development in infrastructure, Kaohsiung City has attracted many tourists. Its growth potential also increases foreign cities' attempts to establish sister city partnerships with Kaohsiung. On February 25, 2005, Kaohsiung City officially signed a sister city partnership with Belize City, Belize, the 22nd of such sister cities of Kaohsiung.
Belize is located in the northeastern part of Central America, bordering Caribbean Sea, between Guatemala and Mexico. Belize City is its largest city, with an area of 10 km2 and a population of 70,000. Agriculture is the biggest sector in Belizean economy. Due to its weak manufacturing sector, Belize relies on export for daily necessities, which provides a great opportunity for Taiwanese exporters to explore the Central American market. The Belizean government has launched incentive programs and free trade zones to attract foreign investments. With the most beautiful coral reef coastlines in the world, Belize is a famous resort in the Central and South America, which facilitates its prosperous tourism industry.
Most of the Taiwanese doing business in Belize live in Belize City. There are about 1,500 Taiwanese businesses there, including ALEX, a fan and television assembler and shingle manufacturer, as well as Global Village, a newly opened hotel. These businesses help create many local jobs and will enjoy more convenient services facilitated by the new sister city partnership.
The sister city partnership was signed by Kaohsiung City Mayor Chi-Mai Chen and Belize City Mayor William David Fonseca at 2:00 p.m. on February 25 in the Ambassador Hotel. Zhi-Jong Tsai, Chairman of Kaohsiung Commerce & Trade Development Association, as well as many Kaohsiung city councilors and directors of various sister city associations attended the ceremony.
According to Mayor Chen, the fact that both cities are essential ports located in the Far East and the Central and South America respectively makes Kaohsiung feel like home for Belizean visitors. Cities of Kaohsiung and Belize have signed a fisheries cooperation agreement which will further enhance the bilateral relationship. Belize City Mayor Fonseca remarked that the sister city partnership will deepen and broaden exchanges and cooperation between the cities. The sister city partnership with Belize City is Kaohsiung's first of such ties established after Mayor Chen took office. It represents another diplomatic achievement of Kaohsiung.
Since the first sister city partnership with Honolulu, America was signed in 1962, Kaohsiung has had 22 sister cities, 13 in the US, 3 in Asia, 2 in South America and Africa, 1 in Australia, and 1 in Central America (Belize City, Belize). The close relations and exchanges with sister cities are reflected in frequent bilateral visits. For instance, performing groups from sister cities are invited to Kaohsiung Lantern Festival every year and Kaohsiung delegations often participate in festivals and celebrations of sister cities.
城市新姐妹──貝里斯市 文／王御風 攝影／高嘉澤
貝里斯國位於中美洲東北部，東濱加勒比海，北接墨西哥，西、南邊與瓜地馬拉為鄰，貝里斯市是該國最大的城市，面積為10平方公里，人口約有70,000人，該國主要產業為農產品，由於缺乏生產製造業，民生必需品須仰賴進口，有利於我以出口導向之生產製造業開發中美洲市場；為吸引外資，該國設有獎勵投資條例及自由貿易區。該國擁有世上最美麗珊瑚礁及海岸，為中南美洲渡假勝地，旅遊業蓬勃發展。而我國前往貝里斯投資的台商也多半住在貝里斯市，約有1,500人，其投資項目眾多，包括：裝配電視、風扇、生產屋頂浪板之ALEX公司，以及新開幕之地球村 (Global Village) 旅館等，為當地帶來許多就業機會，而兩市的結盟更可提供當地台商許多便利的服務。
兩市結盟的簽約儀式是於2月25日下午2時，在國賓飯店舉行，由高雄市長陳其邁與貝里斯市長方士嘉（William David Fonseca）正式簽署姊妹市結盟證書，多位高雄市議員、高雄市各姊妹市協會會長、高雄市經貿發展協會會長葉致中等人均應邀觀禮。
陳市長對此表示，高雄市與貝里斯市都是海洋城市，高雄市是遠東的一顆珍珠，貝里斯則是中南美洲的海上明珠，貝里斯朋友到高雄，會有回家的感覺，高雄市與貝里斯市已簽訂漁業合作協定，兩市未來關係將更為密切。貝里斯市長方士嘉（William David Fonseca）則表示，即日起與高雄市是「兄弟姊妹」關係，未來雙方情誼更為鞏固，交流與合作將更為頻繁。貝里斯市是陳市長上任後第一個締結的姊妹市，為高雄市城市外交再創佳績。