Caribbean ally confers medal on Tsai

LONG-STANDING TIES::President Tsai Ing-wen said the celebration was especially meaningful, as Taiwan was the first country to have ties with Saint Kitts and Nevis

By Yang Chun-hui and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, in Basseterre, with staff writer and CNA

Wed, Jul 17, 2019 - Page 1

The Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis on Monday conferred a medal of honor on Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who touted the ties between the two sides as strong and stable.

The Order of Saint Christopher and Nevis was bestowed on Tsai in recognition of her contribution to Saint Kitts’ development and the advancement of its relations with Taiwan, Saint Kitts and Nevis Governor-General Tapley Seaton said in conferring the medal on the president.

In her acceptance speech, Tsai said that it was the “highest recognition of the long-term friendship and of the partnership developed” between the two allies, which have had diplomatic ties since 1983.

Tsai said that the celebration of diplomatic ties was particularly meaningful, because when Saint Kitts and Nevis became an independent state in 1983, Taiwan was the first country with which it forged diplomatic relations.

At that time, Seaton played an important role in helping to establish ties between the two nations, Tsai said, thanking the governor-general for his efforts.

Taiwan has kept long-standing cooperation with Saint Kitts and Nevis in the fields of agriculture, medicine and communications, while supporting professional education with academic grants, Tsai said.

The two nations are working together in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, she said, adding that the two share common values in fostering peace and prosperity.

Tsai expressed gratitude to the Saint Kitts and Nevis government for its support of Taiwan in international bodies, adding that Taiwan aspires to serve the global community.

“We hope that the Governor-General will continue to extend the utmost support to Taiwan, which would allow the two nations to help each other,” she said.

Before the start of the awards ceremony, Tsai and Seaton planted a golden trumpet tree in a ceremonial gesture to celebrate the solid diplomatic ties between their two nations.

Earlier in the day, Tsai and her delegation visited Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, one of the most popular tourism attractions in Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the best-preserved fortifications in the Americas.

Monday was the final day of the president’s four-day visit to Saint Kitts and Nevis.

She was to visit Saint Vincent and the Grenadines yesterday and today, before traveling to Saint Lucia for three days on the last leg of her 12-day state visit to four Caribbean allies, including Haiti.

Tsai is to stay over in Denver, Colorado, for two nights before flying back on Monday next week.