President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday expressed the nation’s sincere gratitude to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves for visiting Taiwan amid heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
Gonsalves and a delegation of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines officials were welcomed with a 21-gun salute outside the Presidential Office Building and the national anthems of both countries were played.
Tsai and Gonsalves then observed a parade of honor guards and military bands.
Photo: Ann Wang, Reuters
Tsai said she would like to extend the warmest welcome to the prime minister who is a “close and dear friend of Taiwan.”
Tsai said Gonsalves told reporters before his six-day-visit, which began on Sunday, that Chinese military drills would not prevent him from visiting his “friends in Taiwan.”
Tsai said she was deeply touched by Gonsalves’ visit, which is his 11th as prime minister and the first since he was re-elected for a fifth consecutive term in November 2020.
Gonsalves arrived amid military drills being conducted by China around Taiwan in response to a visit last week by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Taiwan and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have supported each other since establishing ties in 1981 and achieved much, despite the constantly changing international landscape, Tsai said.
Gonsalves delivered a livestreamed speech in which he said Taiwan and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are both island nations that share common values related to “the protection and promotion of democracy and human rights.”
Commenting on the Chinese drills, he said: “We do not like it, and do not support any powerful neighbor seeking to intimidate us or bully us.”
“Wherever there are differences, we must settle them peacefully in a civilized manner,” he added.
Gonsalves said his visit is meant to express Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ solidarity with Taiwan, and is aimed at reinforcing bilateral relations and securing peace, security and prosperity for all.
He also expressed his country’s gratitude to Taiwan for offering assistance after a volcanic eruption last year and in combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two leaders also attended meetings to discuss issues of mutual interest, witnessed the signing of a bilateral judicial cooperation agreement and a letter of intent for collaboration in higher education, the Presidential Office said.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is one of 14 UN members that diplomatically recognize Taiwan instead of the People’s Republic of China.
Separately, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Marshall Islands to the UN and other international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland, on Sunday posted Twitter messages in support of Taiwan.
“The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a true friend and ally” of Taiwan, the mission said, reiterating its promise to maintain the rules-based international order as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
“We condemn the recent military actions in the Taiwan Strait that threaten to disrupt peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait and across the Indo-Pacific region,” it said.
It expressed the hope that the dispute can be resolved through constructive dialogue, adding that any communication should be transparent to prevent misunderstanding.
Taipei on Friday rejected Hanoi’s characterization of its recent live-fire drill near Itu Aba Island (Taiping Island, 太平島) as “illegal,” saying that Taiwan’s claim to the small island in the South China Sea was “unquestionable.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement that the comments made by its Vietnamese counterpart about the military’s routine live-fire drills near Itu Aba on Tuesday were “unacceptable.” Earlier on Friday, Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang called Taiwan’s military activity “a serious violation of Vietnam’s territorial sovereignty,” saying it had caused tensions and complicated the situation in the region. Hang
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said it is more than doubling its US investment to US$40 billion as it plans to make 3-nanometer chips in 2026 at a second Arizona fab, adding to the chipmaker’s original plan of building a US$12 billion fab to make 4-nanometer chips in 2024. The investment would mark the largest foreign direct investment in Arizona’s history and one of the largest foreign direct investments in the history of the US, the world’s largest contract chipmaker said in a statement yesterday. In addition to the more than 10,000 construction workers at the site, TSMC’s two fabs
ENHANCEMENT: The sale would update Taiwan’s Patriot missile system to improve its missile defensive capability and deter threats, the US Department of State said The US has proposed selling Taiwan as many as 100 of its most advanced Patriot air-defense missiles along with radar and support equipment in a deal valued at US$882 million, according to a US Department of State notice obtained by Bloomberg News. The proposal was made under the provisions of a 2010 sale and so technically is not new. It is classified as an enhancement to the earlier deal, with a potential total value of US$2.81 billion. The upgrade would not change the overall value of that deal, which infuriated Beijing at the time and led it to halt planned military exchanges
‘UNITED FRONT’ TOOL? There are already many accounts on Douyin impersonating government agencies, and even Premier Su Tseng-chang, DPP Legislator Mark Ho said Lawmakers and a number of experts yesterday called on the government to ban or heavily regulate Douyin (抖音) over concerns that the short-video platform could be used by China to spread disinformation. Owned by ByteDance Ltd (字節跳動), Douyin and its international version, TikTok, are a subject of concern in democracies worldwide because of potential manipulation by the Chinese government. FBI Director Chris Wray on Friday said that Beijing might have the ability to control TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, “which allows them to manipulate content, and if they want to, to use it for influence operations.” TikTok could also be used to collect personal data