Taiwan and the US are to cohost the first Pacific Islands Dialogue in Taipei tomorrow, and a delegation led by US senior official Sandra Oudkirk is expected to attend, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.
The forum aims to foster closer relations between Taiwan and its diplomatic allies by promoting regional stability and their shared values, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) said.
Taiwan, which last month lost two Pacific allies, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, to Beijing, now has 15 allies, four of which are in the Pacific region: the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu.
The forum, an annual platform to be alternately hosted by Taiwan and the US, would discuss international coordination on aid projects in Pacific island countries and aim to enhance the effectiveness of Taiwan’s programs helping allies in the region, he said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Oudkirk would both officiate tomorrow morning at the dialogue’s opening session, he said, adding that Oudkirk would also attend the Yushan Forum in Taipei on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Scheduled to arrive in Taiwan over the weekend, Oudkirk in May took the post of US senior official for APEC and deputy assistant secretary for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands.
Ambassadors from Taiwan’s Pacific allies are to join the event, along with representatives from other countries, including Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and several European countries, although some have yet to confirm their attendance, Department of North American Affairs Director-General Vincent Yao (姚金祥) said.
Taiwan and the US started planning the forum about six months ago, and the US has been paying attention to Taiwan’s relations with allies in the region, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Director-General Baushuan Ger (葛葆萱) said when asked if the forum was a response to the recent loss of ties with the Solomon Islands and Kiribati.
Oudkirk is the second US deputy assistant secretary to publicly visit Taiwan this year, following Scott Busby, who last month led a delegation to Taipei to attend the first Taiwan-US Consultations on Democratic Governance in the Indo-Pacific Region, Yao said.
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