Fri, Mar 22, 2019 - Page 1 News List

President Tsai vows to help Taiwan ‘shine’

Staff writer, with CNA and Reuters

Palauan students hold lanterns painted with the national flags of Palau and the Republic of China as they welcome President Tsai Ing-wen outside the Palau Royal Resort yesterday.

Photo: Su Yung-yao, Taipei Times

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday before departing on a state visit said that she would do everything in her power to ensure that Taiwan stays on the right path and shines on the world stage.

Tsai made the comment at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport before embarking on a trip to Palau, Nauru and the Marshall Islands.

The trip has several goals, including promoting cooperation between Taiwan and its allies, and boosting the nation’s international participation, she said.

Taiwan can share its expertise in agriculture, healthcare and technological development with its allies, who can in turn support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations and events, Tsai said.

The president said she would seek to better understand the efforts and contributions Palau and Nauru have made in the field of sustainable development, which could serve as a useful reference for Taiwan.

She would also exchange ideas with leaders from the Pacific region at the Pacific Women Leaders’ Coalition Conference, which is to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday next week in the Marshall Islands, Tsai said.

The other goal is to ensure that Taiwan’s diplomats, technicians and doctors, who work around the clock in Pacific nations, receive greater recognition at home for their hard work, she added.

Tsai is to visit Palau until tomorrow and Nauru on Sunday and Monday, before arriving in the Marshall Islands on Tuesday next week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

She is to make a stopover in Hawaii on the return leg before returning to Taiwan at 8:20pm on Thursday next week, it added.

China has lodged “stern representations” over Tsai’s planned stopover in the US, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said.

“We have consistently and resolutely opposed the US or other countries that have diplomatic relations with China arranging this kind of transit,” Geng told reporters in Beijing.

China urged the US not to send “Taiwanese independence forces any wrong signal,” he added.

In related news, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉), who recently visited the Solomon Islands, yesterday told lawmakers that Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with the Pacific ally remain stable.

Hsu’s statement came amid media reports that a number of senior Solomon Islands politicians, including Acting Solomon Islands Prime Minister Rick Hou, had said they would review the nation’s diplomatic relations with Taiwan if elected on April 3, raising the possibility of a diplomatic switch from Taipei to Beijing.

Hsu said there have been “a lot of rumors” concerning the ally’s diplomatic recognition, but Hou has said that his Democratic Alliance Party would “review, rather than switch,” diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

During their meeting earlier this month, Hou and Hsu reaffirmed the two nations’ friendly relations, Hsu added.

To further solidify ties, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in which Taiwan would offer “strategic loans” reportedly totaling NT$900 million (US$29.21 million) to help the Pacific country build a national stadium for use in the 2023 Pacific Games, Hsu said.

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