Mayor Ladie Jack of Majuro in the Marshall Islands;  Mayor of Quezon City in the Philippines;  and Mayor Sakurada Hiroshi of Hirosaki in Japan; and our friend director of AIT孫曉雅處長. Your Excellency Ambassador Bowman, Dean of Diplomatic Corps;  and all the ambassadors, city representatives and distinguished guests and all our friends who have joined us today, good evening and Happy Year of the Rabbit!

It is my great honor to celebrate the Taiwan Lantern Festival with all of you with our distinguished guests tonight as we, citizens of Taipei, host guests from all over the world.  I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone for your support and to again extend our warm welcome to all of you to Taipei City.  I would also like to acknowledge our sister cities: Majuro city and Quezon City and their respective mayors for being here with us tonight, which is the testament of our strong, long-standing friendships and I share my spotlight with both of you. We actually had another representative of a sister city celebrating the event with us earlier, the mayor of Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, who unfortunately had to leave early due to prior commitments but I surely know his heart is with us. Thank you and welcome!

The Taiwan Lantern Festival was first held in Taipei in 1990, and since 2001, it has been held in different cities throughout Taiwan and this year, it has returned to Taipei after 23 years. This is the first large international event that we host in Taipei City since the relaxation of COVID restrictions and it is also the first of such festivals that we sprinkle exhibitions throughout the city. The integration of creative lantern designs in an urban jungle, densely populated metropolitan area will be a milestone for future lantern festivals to look up to. 

Through the Festival, we are determined to make our name known across the globe and grow Taipei’s footprint in the world. With all of our international friends here as witnesses today, let me stress that my responsibility as mayor is to elevate Taipei’s standing in the international community and cement its place as a top tier international city. Accomplishing this goal will be the most integral part of my tenure and I hope to make citizens of Taipei proud by achieving this objective. 

As the capital of Taiwan, we will lead international dialogues and exchanges.  We will proactively go to various parts of the world to introduce and promote Taipei. Our doors will always be wide open to welcome visitors and friends to come to Taipei, and encourage dialogues and exchanges of ideas.

As mayor of Taipei, which is an indispensable member of the international community and the engine of progress of Taiwan, I will lead by example over the next four years and beyond to ensure Taipei shines on the global stage. 

As the world gathers here in Taipei, we aim to become a focal point for international exchanges between Asia and the world.  From our upcoming Smart City Summit and Expo in March to subsequent symposium on sustainability, economy, and culture, we will bring Taipei to the world, we will let the world see Taipei, we will let the world see Taiwan, and we will let the world see the Republic of China.

I would like to thank you again for joining us at this year’s Taiwan Lantern Festival in Taipei, and I hope to see you back here again soon. Through city diplomacy, we can create a better future together. On a lighter note, two of my three sons were born in the year of the rabbit and they are always full of vigor. Rabbits are cuddly, but vibrant and energetic at the same time. As I toast all of you for a Happy Chinese New Year, I wish everyone to be full of energy. Let’s keep going like Energizer bunnies. Thank you again for coming. Cheers!

馬紹爾馬久羅市Ladie Jack市長、菲律賓奎松市市長、日本弘前市櫻田宏(SAKURADA Hiroshi)市長、AIT孫曉雅處長、使節團團長柏安卓大使(Afmb. Andrea Clare Bowman)以及在場的各位大使、國際友好城市代表及貴賓們,大家晚安!兔年快樂!