Former governor of Guam and current Guam Visitor’s Bureau (GVB) president Carl Gutierrez hosted a gala in Taiwan in January commemorating fifty years of sister city ties between Taiwan’s capital Taipei and Guam. Over 80 Taiwanese community leaders were present, representing government agencies, the tourism industry, and international media.
The GVB delegation also included members of the Mayor’s Council of Guam and Guam Department of Education. Humåtak village mayor Johnny Quinata, Mayors’ Council of Guam executive director, Angel Sablan, and Inalåhan village mayor, Anthony Chargualaf, prepared a presentation at the event that included the original sister city agreement from 1973.
During the presentation, Sablan said he, “looked at our files and I found the resolution signed by the mayors of Guam, back then called commissioners, and the mayor of Taipei – the late Chang Feng-hsu. We proudly presented the documents that were signed 50 years ago to the Taipei government at the gala and put a seal from the Mayor’s Council of Guam that indicates that we want to go another 50 years.”
The original 1973 agreement was the third arrangement of its kind between the United States and Taiwan. Today, there are approximately 90 such agreements, according to data compiled by the East-West Center in Washington and the American Chamber of Commerce in Taiwan.
This event is part of a trend of increased local level engagement between the United States and Taiwan. Although the Guam delegation was led by a tourism industry official, GVB president Gutierrez said the delegation would like to “seek to expand opportunities that go beyond tourism.”
In four months, from late 2021 to early 2022, Guam established sister city links with two more Taiwanese cities, Taoyuan, and Taichung. Furthermore, in December 2022, the University of Guam received a donation of $600,000 from Taiwanese nonprofit J. Yang and Family Foundation, intended to be used for various educational and study abroad opportunities.
Commenting on the ties between Taiwan and Guam, Taipei City government counselor of international and mainland affairs Gordon C.H. Yang said: “We look forward to moving our relations beyond tourism and travel to other areas such as economic and cultural activities, agriculture, trade, medical support and even regional security.”
Angelo Paule is a participant in the Young Professionals Program at the East-West Center in Washington. He received his Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science at the University of Guam.