Opening the Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE 2014) on Jan. 5, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said that culture is Taiwan's key to connecting with the world.
Because of Taiwan's political situation, culture has become the country's most important conduit for "opening doors and making friends," Lung said at the ceremony attended by foreign officials and representatives from the publishing sector.
She thanked international friends for their trust, support, and encouragement despite Taiwan's political and international isolation.
The Minister also highlighted 1987 as an important year for Taiwan, not only because it was when Taiwan lifted 38 years of martial law, but also because it was the year the Taipei International Book Exhibition was launched.
Lung said she was proud of the progress the show has made since then, noting that it drew 68 countries this year compared with 11 when it first began.
Vice President Wu Den-yih, meanwhile, touted Taiwan's publishing environment as free, creative and diverse. He said he hoped the Taipei book fair would go beyond facilitating international exchanges and also promote Taiwan's soft power to the world.
The annual fair, now in its 22nd year, is taking place from Feb. 5 through 10 at Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Halls 1 and 3.
A total of 648 publishers from 68 countries are showcasing their publications at the exhibition.
Over 400 writers, illustrators and experts in the publishing sector will also participate in the fair, which includes over 630 forums, book signings, book launches, and other literary activities.