Washington, Sept. 30 (CNA) Coen Blaauw, a senior policy adviser to the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) in Washington, was awarded a civilian order by Taiwan on Saturday in recognition of his “exceptional contributions” to promoting relations between Taiwan and the United States over the past three decades.
Blaauw, a Dutch lawyer who has been lobbying for Taiwan and drafting legislation related to the country throughout most of his career, was bestowed the Order of the Brilliant Star with Special Grand Cordon, one of Taiwan’s top civilian awards.
The order was conferred on behalf of the Taiwan government by the country’s representative to the U.S. Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who said at the ceremony that FAPA and Blaauw’s hard work and dedication had helped to build tremendous bipartisan, bicameral support for Taiwan on Capitol Hill.
That type of support for Taiwan “is sometimes the subject of envy, not only from other countries, but also from the perspective of American domestic politics,” she said at the ceremony, which was part of a banquet hosted by FAPA.
Blaauw, who is from the Netherlands, became interested in Taiwan during his university years. He wrote his thesis about the Dutch-Taiwanese submarine deal of 1981, and after that he gradually got involved in Taiwan affairs.
He joined FAPA in 1989 and has since been actively lobbying for Taiwan issues in the U.S. Congress. The pro-Taiwan legislation he has drafted over the years included the Taiwan Travel Act, which took effect in 2018 and encourages exchange visits by U.S. and Taiwan officials at all levels.
According to the citation at Saturday’s ceremony, Blaauw is an “outstanding person,” who has played a key role in promoting relations between Taiwan and the U.S., and his “exceptional contributions have earned him the sincere gratitude of the people and government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).”
Blaauw, who plans to retire in April 2024, was commended by Hsiao for his dedication and commitment to Taiwan’s pursuit of freedom and democracy, which she said she had witnessed firsthand when she was serving as an intern at FAPA in the summer of 1991.
In response, Blaauw said he will remain involved in Taiwan matters even after he retires next year.