In the second online gathering of the New Southbound series, we invited Taiwanese Ambassador to Vietnam, Richard R. C. Shih, shared his foreign service experience and the recent situation between Taiwan and Vietnam.
Ambassador Shi first emphasized the uncertainty of foreign service that must be go through: during his service in South Africa, Ambassador Shi had to go to Gambia in a very short period of time due to urgent political situation. It is more common for a foreign service officer to work in new environment, make new friends, and cope with various of new challenges. Therefore, diplomats are expected to highly adaptable and make balance between national sovereignty and security, as well as the pursuit of the best interests of the country within the task.
In terms of work practice, Ambassador Shi proposed that diplomats should possess three qualities: curiosity, creativity and integrity. Ambassador Shi exemplified with the signing of the "Taiwan-Vietnam Economic and Trade Agreement,” sharing the “properly engagement” that diplomats must keep sensitive at all times.
In addition to daily consular tasks, diplomats also need to be ready to deal with new tasks all the time. Ambassador Shi took the example of assisting Taiwanese businessmen to return to Taiwan by chartered flights during the epidemic. He mentioned that each Taiwanese businessman returning to Taiwan needs to went through 12 to 15 documents reviews. The task is complicated and the epidemic is raging, so the comprehensive coordination ability is more important.
*Richard R. C. Shih is the Taiwan ambassador to Vietnam. Before his tenure, he was the Spokesman of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Shih also served as the ambassador to Embassy of the ROC in Gambia from 2008-2011.