Agricultural development will be the goal of the first bilateral undertakings by Taiwan and new ally St. Lucia.
The details of agricultural projects were discussed in a meeting in the St. Lucian capital, Castries, on Saturday.
Present at the meeting were St. Lucian Minister of Agriculture Ezechiel Joseph, Republic of China Ambassador Lee Chao-cheng (
Joseph told Taiwanese officials that St. Lucia needs Taiwan's assistance in building and running meat processing factories and aquafarms and in developing horticultural capabilities.
Joseph said that the country hoped to build a slaughterhouse and meat-processing factory in the south, a project they have also discussed with the French government, the UN and the EU.
READY TO GO
Joseph said that blueprints had already been drawn up for the facility, adding that he hoped Taiwan would help St. Lucia with the construction and with training workers at the factory.
Lee promised St. Lucian officials that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Cooperation Development Fund would make every effort to help their country.
Kung said that Taiwan had developed various kinds of fruit in St. Lucia about a decade ago and had transplanted new fruit varieties to St. Lucia's neighbors, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which are also diplomatic allies.
In 1997, however, St. Lucia cut off its diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established ties with China, at which point the agricultural projects were abandoned, he said.
Taiwan will take the varieties it cultivated and gave to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and plant them in St. Lucia again, he said.
In addition, Taiwan will finish aid projects in St Lucia abandoned by China, whose workers are leaving, a Central News Agency (CNA) report said.
China has severed its ties with St. Lucia to protest the Caribbean nation's decision to recognize Taiwan.
Beijing has already begun to transport workers from the island.
The Chinese were working on a stadium and a 130-bed mental hospital in Castries, CNA said.
After Taipei restored ties with St. Lucia earlier this week, a team of Taiwanese construction and agricultural experts arrived in Castries from St. Vincent to meet with St. Lucian officials and discuss how Taiwan could help with the island's development.
However, both Chinese construction projects are problematic.
The stadium, located south of Castries, is considered too far away for the city's residents to use often. It would also be expensive to hire people to take care of the facility.
The mental hospital, north of Castries, poses a bigger problem because it is being built on soft soil in a hilly area.
Two retaining walls will need to be built next to the hospital at a cost of millions of US dollars, to prevent landslides from burying the facility.
St. Lucian officials said that even if the hospital is completed, the country does not have the money to train medical personnel or to buy software and hardware for the hospital.
St. Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984, before switching diplomatic recognition to China.
The Caribbean nation announced its decision to restore diplomatic relations with Taipei on April 26.
On Thursday, St. Lucian Minister of Foreign Affairs Rufus Bousquet said that although the country was being intimidated by Beijing, it would not change its decision.
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