Fri, Nov 16, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Minister to visit Marshall Islands for ties anniversary

Staff writer, with CNA

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, left, attends a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee in Taipei on Oct. 17.

Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) is to leave for the Marshall Islands on Monday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Invited by his Marshallese counterpart John Silk, Wu is scheduled to lead a delegation to visit the Pacific island nation to celebrate the anniversary, which falls on Tuesday.

The visit is scheduled to conclude on Wednesday.

In addition to ministry officials, the delegation is also to include representatives from Taipei Medical University Shuang Ho Hospital, the Ocean Affairs Council, the Coast Guard Administration and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

Wu is to meet with Marshallese President Hilda Heine and her Cabinet, and also attend ceremonies that demonstrate the results of bilateral cooperation, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Ger Bau-shuan (葛葆萱) said.

The demonstrations of the cooperation projects are to include a joint maritime rescue drill between the Coast Guard Administration and its Marshallese counterpart.

Wu is also to host a ceremony to inaugurate a new medical care center and sign a bilateral cooperation agreement on police affairs, Ger said.

The trip on Monday comes at a sensitive time, as Heine narrowly survived a vote of no confidence, which she said was orchestrated by Chinese-backed business interests intent on undermining the Pacific nation’s sovereignty.

Asked about the timing, Ger said the trip was arranged six months ago and had nothing to do with solidifying ties with the ally after the no-confidence vote.

Ger would not comment on the internal affairs of the Marshall Islands, but said the ministry knows that Beijing is attempting to disrupt Taipei’s ties with all of its diplomatic allies.

“We will do our best to solidify relations with all of our diplomatic allies by offering aid projects that will truly help their citizens,” he said.

Ger also announced that reciprocal visa-free entry between Taiwan and the Marshall Islands would take effect on Monday as part of efforts to grant visa-free privileges to diplomatic allies to promote exchanges.

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