President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) returned home yesterday from a five-nation diplomatic tour to the Caribbean and South America and said that the results of the visit were better than expected.
Ma began his tour on Aug. 11 with a visit to Haiti after a transit stop in New York. He also visited three other Caribbean allies — St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and St Kitts and Nevis — and Paraguay in South America, where he attended the inauguration of Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes.
He returned to Taiwan via Los Angeles early yesterday.
Ma said after arriving at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport that the trip produced tangible results in five areas, the first of which was consolidating the nation’s relations with its diplomatic allies.
During the visit, Ma said he signed three joint communiques — with St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and St Kitts and Nevis — a joint declaration with Hait, and an extradition treaty with St Kitts and Nevis.
The second achievement was advancing Taiwan’s cooperation projects with these allies in areas such as agriculture, healthcare, science and technology, infrastructure development and education, Ma said.
The third milestone was visiting Haiti, making him the first Republic of China president to visit the Caribbean nation since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1956, he said.
The other two positive developments were “transit diplomacy” and “connecting with expatriates,” he added.
Ma said he met or talked over the telephone with 12 US administration officials and congressional members during his transit stops in the US, and his contacts with Taiwanese expatriates in New York, Los Angeles and Paraguay gave them a better understanding of the current situation in Taiwan.
Ma was originally scheduled to return home today, but he cut short his trip due to Tropical Storm Trami.