Taipei, A Canadian national who has resided in Taiwan for more than half a century was given a Friendship Medal of Diplomacy on Monday in recognition of his contributions to the country.
Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Wu awarded 79-year-old Pierre Loisel the medal for helping advance information and communication technology in Taiwan and playing a role in establishing Canada's de facto embassy in Taiwan.
Loisel, a computer engineering expert, came to Taiwan in 1964. He helped launch of the Chinese computer interface and also helped computer giant Hewlett-Packard (HP) set up its Taiwan office.
Using his personal connections, Loisel also facilitated the establishment of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (CTOT) in 1986 to serve as Canada's de facto embassy in Taiwan after the North American country switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1970.
After retiring, Loisel turned to organic farming and kitchen waste recycling to protect the land he loved from pollution and overdevelopment, according to Wu during his address at the ceremony held at the foreign ministry's headquarters in Taipei.
In his acceptance speech, Loisel said he was very grateful to receive the medal, which should facilitate his application for citizenship in Taiwan.
According to Loisel, who is married to a Taiwanese woman, he has previously applied to the Ministry of the Interior to become a Taiwanese citizen, but the request was rejected because he was not willing to give up his Canadian citizenship.
"It is my human right (to continue to hold my Canadian citizenship)," he said.
Loisel said it was hard for him to be the only "foreigner" in his family, but thanks to the medal he can apply for citizenship under the recently revised Nationality Act.
Taiwan's Nationality Act was amended in late 2016 to allow foreign nationals with special contributions to Taiwan to obtain ROC citizenship without having to renounce their original citizenships.
Loisel's son Liu Chih-chung told local media that his father was lucky to be given the medal. "But many other families in Taiwan with foreign spouses are not that fortunate," he said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel