Macao to close Taipei office this Saturday
Dramatic move echoes Hong Kong’s suspending its office’s operations last month following claims of ‘gross interference’.
The Macao Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei will be closed for good from this Saturday.
An official statement announced that the government “fully takes into account the needs of Macao residents in Taiwan,” adding that a 24-hour telephone hotline (+853 2833 3000) set up by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) will be handling general enquiries during the suspension, and providing other services or assistance requested by Macao residents who are in Taiwan.
The telephone hotline will also provide people in Taiwan with information about Macao, while for the latest information on Covid-19, people may call the Novel Coronavirus Coordination and Response Centre on +853 2870 0800.
The statement reiterated that the Macao Special Administrative Region government has, since its establishment, been promoting the stable development of relations between Macao and Taiwan, The Macau Post Daily reported.
In 2011, based on the “1992 Consensus” endorsed by both the mainland and the Taiwan region, Macao and Taiwan reached an agreement on establishing respective representative offices.
The two offices have been conducting activities in accordance with the 1992 Consensus, according to which the two sides of the Taiwan Strait agree that there is only “one China” but that they have “different interpretations” about the principle.
MECO started operations in December 2011, working out of the 508-metre Taipei 101, which was once the world’s tallest skyscraper.
The statement added that the office “has always proceeded in compliance with the law, regarding applications for the necessary credentials by personnel wishing to work for the Taiwan office in Macao.
“Nonetheless, it has not so far been possible to gain approval in Taiwan either for requests for renewal of credentials, lodged by existing members of MECO, or for new credentials by Macao staff wishing to work in Macao’s office [in Taipei] on a rotational basis.
“As a result, the Macao Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan has to cease operations.”
The office is led by the head of the delegation Lam Chi I.
The statement added that the government “will keep promoting and deepening people-to-people exchanges and cooperation between Macao and Taiwan.”
Thousands of Macao residents study and work in Taiwan. Hong Kong suspended operations of its office in Taipei last month. The Hong Kong government said at that time that the Taiwan authorities had “grossly interfered” in the special administrative region’s affairs on repeated occasions and “created irretrievable damage” to relations between the two sides.
The Taiwan authorities run the “Taipei Economic and Culture Office” in Macao, which is located in Dynasty Plaza in Nape.