Mon, Jul 15, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Tsai praises Haiti during lightning visit

FIRST CARIBBEAN STOP:Haitian President Jovenel Moise met Tsai Ing-wen at the airport before they attended the opening of a Taiwanese trade fair in Port-au-Prince

Staff writer, with CNA, PORT-AU-PRINCE

From left, National Security Council Secretary-General David Lee, President Tsai Ing-Wen, Haitian President Jovenel Moise and first lady Martine Marie Etienne Joseph, cut a ceremonial ribbon to inaugurate an exhibition of Taiwanese products in Port-au-Prince on Saturday.

Photo: AP

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Saturday praised Haiti as a solid friend while highlighting the partnership with the Caribbean ally on economic, trade and other cooperation projects during a four-and-a-half-hour stop before heading on to St Kitts and Nevis.

Haiti was the first stop on Tsai’s tour of four diplomatic allies in the Caribbean region, and she was greeted by Haitian President Jovenel Moise and his wife, Martine, upon her arrival at Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

Tsai and Moise then attended the opening of a Taiwan trade fair organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Taiwan External Trade Development Council in Port-au-Prince.

Tsai thanked Taiwanese enterprises that are working with the government to boost exchanges and cooperation with foreign allies, citing two textile companies that have opened factories in Haiti and created many jobs.

Haiti last year opened the Haiti-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce, reflecting the closer trade and economic ties between the two nations, she said.

She also said the two nations are working together to promote a project to upgrade Haiti’s electric grid, describing it as a “benchmark bilateral cooperation program.”

Through the project, which will involve new high-voltage and regional micro grids and new and renovated substations, Haiti can strengthen its national development, Taiwanese businesses can expand their markets, and the partnership between Taiwan and Haiti can become closer, Tsai said.

The electric grid project has yet to be approved by Haiti’s parliament, but it is to be financed by Taiwanese banks, and built by Taiwanese engineering and construction companies with Haitian construction teams, she said.

“Taiwan and Haiti are both pursuing progress and development,” Tsai said, adding that she hoped the two nations will continue to work together to promote each other’s progress and development.

St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris greeted Tsai and her delegation upon their arrival at Robert L. Bradshaw Airport northeast of Basseterre at about 10pm on Saturday.

A crowd of Taiwanese expatriates holding Republic of China (ROC) flags were also on hand to greet her.

Harris also tweeted about Tsai’s arrival, along with photographs of him greeting her at the airport.

Tsai was scheduled to visit Nevis yesterday, becoming the first sitting ROC president to do so.

During her three-night stay in St Kitts and Nevis, Tsai is to oversee the signing of cooperation agreements between high-level officials and meet with Harris and Governor-General Tapley Seaton.

She is to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of an ocean park and a wreath-laying activity at a monument.

Her next stop will be St Vincent and the Grenadines, where she is to arrive tomorrow.

Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in a Twitter video on Saturday that his government and the people of his country were looking forward to Tsai’s two-day visit and her address to the nation’s parliament.

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