Sun, Feb 24, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Ties with Saint Lucia strong, could improve: speaker

Staff writer, with CNA

Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, left, and Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan give the thumbs-up sign yesterday while attending celebrations marking Saint Lucia’s 40th anniversary of independence.

Photo: Screen grab from Su Jia-chyuan’s Facebook page

Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), who is visiting Saint Lucia, has said that Taiwan’s relations with the Caribbean island nation are strong and could even improve.

Su discussed cooperation between the two countries at a breakfast meeting with Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on Friday, Su wrote on Facebook, adding that they both hoped for closer ties.

Su did not elaborate on what closer ties might entail, other than a reference to expanding exchanges and cooperation, but he said he had faith in the strong friendship between the two countries, because Taiwan and Saint Lucia have been true partners in pursuing sustainable development.

Su left Taiwan on Wednesday for a seven-day trip to Saint Lucia to attend celebrations marking its 40th anniversary of independence as President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) special envoy.

After a trip of about 30 hours, Su arrived in Saint Lucia on Thursday and received a warm welcome and a military salute, he wrote.

He began a series of activities, including meeting Chastanet for breakfast and attending Independence Day celebrations, the next morning.

During the breakfast meeting, Su and Chastanet also talked about mutual investments to benefit people in both countries, in particular in agricultural technology research, climate change disaster prevention and industrial development, Su wrote.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier this week that Su would also attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hewanorra International Airport redevelopment project, which is financed with a loan from Taiwan.

Saint Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984 before it switched recognition to China in 1997.

It then severed ties with Beijing and recognized Taipei again in 2007. It opened its Taipei embassy in June 2015, making it Saint Lucia’s first embassy in Asia.

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