President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday congratulated Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on securing a seat on the UN Security Council last month.
During her address at the Saint Vincentian House of Assembly, the president, who is visiting the Caribbean ally for the first time, said that promoting world peace and security in the council is “a high honor and a great achievement.”
“As longtime allies, we share in your pride,” she said.
Although Taiwan is not a UN member, it has also been a responsible member of the international community by cooperating with international partners on issues that require global cooperation, she said.
For instance, in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan has been offering assistance in various fields for the nation’s long-term development, she said.
She named a number of projects as examples, such as a banana revitalization project, an initiative to prevent and control diabetes, a joint intelligent bus management and monitoring system, and scholarships for students to study in Taiwan.
In return, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has offered support for Taiwan’s international participation, as its leaders repeatedly speak up for the nation in global venues, Tsai said.
“At last year’s UN General Assembly General Debate, [Saint Vincentian] Prime Minister [Ralph] Gonsalves said: ‘There is simply no principled basis to deny Taiwan the right to participate in the work of the specialized agencies of the United Nations,’” Tsai said.
She also thanked Saint Vincentian Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment Luke Browne for his “inspiring” speech at the World Health Assembly in May on Taiwan’s behalf.
After Taiwan was denied participation in the decisionmaking body of the WHO for the third consecutive year, Browne said that the interests of Taiwan’s 23 million people should not be held ransom by political preferences.
“His courageous words have stayed with me to this day,” Tsai told Browne, who was among the attendants at her speech.
In closing, Tsai thanked her hosts for always being loyal allies and close partners.
“We share a common vision for universal human rights, so I hope that you will continue to support Taiwan in the international arena as we work together to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and make our world a better place for future generations,” she said.
Tsai later visited the Saint Vincent Botanical Gardens, the oldest botanical gardens in the western hemisphere, where she planted a tree and was greeted by a Saint Vincent amazon bird, which said “hello” to her in Chinese.
She also witnessed a police car donation before finishing her day with a banquet hosted by Gonsalves.
Meanwhile, US Senator Cory Gardner welcomed Tsai’s visit to Denver this weekend, which he said would highlight issues such as bilateral security, trade and renewable energy.
Tsai is to fly to Denver tomorrow for a two-night visit before returning to Taiwan.
“This would be a chance to highlight our security relationship in Colorado, our cutting-edge energy issues and a lot of agricultural opportunities to talk about as well, focusing on trade, focusing on the environment, renewable energy, other opportunities,” said Gardner, who personally invited Tsai to visit his state.
“We are going to have a great number of conversations with Colorado leaders, Colorado businesses,” he added.
Tsai would also be able to see the US west and the way of life in the Rocky Mountains, and it would be a “fun opportunity to have more exposure for the people of Colorado with our great friendship with Taiwan,” he said.
Gardner said that he was not concerned about possible pressure from China.
“I am sure they are not happy with me, but that is fine. I am not here to make China happy,” Gardner said. “I am here to do the right thing for the people of the United States and our friends like Taiwan.”
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