Taiwan on Wednesday signed an agreement to give US$2.5 million over a period of five years for a regional disaster assistance and reconstruction program in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The agreement was forged with the Washington-headquartered Pan American Development Foundation, a non-profit foundation of the Organization of American States (OAS) that is implementing the program.
Taiwan’s representative to the US, King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), who signed the agreement on behalf of the government, said it is important to build bridges between those who are “able to give” and those “in need.”
King said Taiwan, like the rest of the world, often experiences natural disasters and is very happy to have the opportunity to reach out to others at times when they are most in need of friendship and help.
Latin America and the Caribbean are home to 12 of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic allies.
The signing ceremony was attended by the permanent OAS representatives of Haiti, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Belize, the Dominican Republic, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and St Christopher and Nevis.
Also at the ceremony, King said he disagreed with Joseph Wu, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party’s representative to the US, who recently said that the substantive relations between Taipei and Washington “are not as good as they appear.”
King said Wu’s remarks were inconsistent with the facts, given that American Institute in Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt has openly described the current Taiwan-US ties as being in the best shape in 30 years.
Furthermore, US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called Taiwan an important security and economic partner of the US, King said.