Taoyuan City, Taiwan could become Long Beach’s first sister city in over a decade

Taoyuan City, Taiwan could join Long Beach’s list of sister cities – including Yokkaichi, Japan; Qingdao, China; Sochi, Russia; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Mombasa, Kenya.

On Tuesday, the Long Beach City Council approved Taoyuan City’s application to become a sister city. The council will vote on a formal resolution next week.

Sister Cities International was founded in 1956 during President Dwight Eisenhower’s White House Conference on Citizens’ Diplomacy. The purpose of a sister city is to build relationships with people of different cultures, “celebrate their differences, and build partnerships that reduce the risk of new conflicts,” according to the Sister Cities of Long Beach Inc. (SCLB) website.

SCLB President Susan Redfield said the organization works with “thousands of Long Beach residents” from diverse backgrounds each year.

“It is our vision to continue to serve as the international arm for our city and its leadership, and to help improve Long Beach’s personal and economic future,” she said.

These partnerships may also include commercial agreements, such as B. Coordination with the Port of Long Beach. According to the agenda item, Los Angeles County is America’s most important international trade gateway to Taiwan and Taiwan’s most important gateway to the United States. Los Angeles County also has the largest Taiwanese population of any county in the country.

“The embrace of Taoyuan City could facilitate a mutually beneficial exchange of business opportunities and strategies,” Councilor Al Austin said. “In addition, the cultural exchange can lead to an enrichment for both of our cities.”

Austin pointed out that the city has received Taiwanese representatives on several occasions and that the city of Taoyuan has sent supplies of PPE to Long Beach when there is a shortage.

The addition of Taoyuan City would be Long Beach’s first new sister city since 2007 when Mombasa, Kenya joined the list. The other cities joined between the 80s and 90s.

The process began in 2019 when the SCLB board was approached by a group of Taiwanese nationals who wanted to add a Taiwanese sister city.

In June of the same year, the SCLB received a presentation from the group and formed a Taoyuan Twin City Education Committee to explore the potential partnership.

In December 2020, the council approved the application to establish the sister city, but had not yet formalized the agreement.

“I always support anything that allows us to have mutually beneficial exchanges on business opportunities, port strategies and of course cultural enrichment with other countries,” said Councilor Suely Saro.

Long Beach also has three “Friendship Cities”: Bacolod, Philippines; Venice, Italy; and Rosarito Beach, Mexico. These relationships were formed to “test the waters” before forming long-term town twinning, according to the SCLB website. Compared to Twin Cities, Friendship Cities are often short-term, less formal, and designed to advance a single purpose.

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