President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to explore new cooperation with Taiwan’s sole African diplomatic ally, the Kingdom of Eswatini, as she met with the country’s first female foreign minister.
Swazi Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Thulisile Dladla, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for a five-day visit, met with Tsai at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday morning.
“Being of the female gender myself, I fully understand what a remarkable achievement it is,” Tsai said in a speech, referring to Dladla’s inauguration as Eswatini’s first female foreign minister in November last year.
Tsai, who was sworn in as Taiwan’s first female president in May 2016, said that she believed under Dladla’s leadership the friendship and partnership between Taiwan and eSwatini would become closer than ever.
Despite the geographical distance between the two nations, Taiwan and Eswatini see no obstacles in their friendship, Tsai said, adding that the two governments would not only make an effort to maintain existing partnerships, they would also seek to explore new ones.
Recounting her visit to Eswatini in April last year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of the African country and the establishment of diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Eswatini, Tsai said that the energetic Swazi culture left a lasting impression on her.
“During the visit, I also witnessed the fruits of our bilateral cooperation in medicine, education and trade,” Tsai said.
In addition to technical cooperation, she said she hoped to see more Taiwanese businesspeople use Eswatini as a base to enter Africa, which would create an environment of mutual reciprocity and mutual assistance.
Eswatini became Taiwan’s only African diplomatic ally after Burkina Faso severed ties and switched recognition to Beijing in May last year.
Taiwan has lost four other diplomat allies to China since Tsai’s inauguration: El Salvador; Sao Tome and Principe; Panama; and the Dominican Republic.
Amid speculation about his country potentially switching recognition to China, Swazi King Mswati III visited Taiwan in June last year and has repeatedly pledged his country’s loyalty to Taiwan.
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