Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) is to attend the inauguration of Palauan president-elect Surangel Whipps Jr on Thursday next week, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.
Wu is to travel to the Pacific ally on Wednesday next week and return two days later, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a regular press briefing in Taipei.
Given the strong friendship between Taiwan and the Pacific island nation, which has not recorded a single COVID-19 case to date, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) appointed Wu to head Taiwan’s delegation to the inauguration of Palau’s new president and vice president, Ou said.
Screen grab from Facebook page of Surangel Whipps Jr.
The ministry in a separate news release said that Wu would meet with outgoing Palauan President Tommy Remengesau Jr, Whipps and Palauan vice president-elect J. Uduch Sengebau Sr, as well the Palauan Senate president and speaker of the Palauan House of Delegates, among others.
He would also inspect the implementation of major bilateral cooperation programs, the ministry added.
The delegation would observe strict COVID-19 prevention measures throughout the visit, the ministry said, without elaborating further.
Tsai announced Wu’s visit via a video call with Whipps while congratulating the president-elect on his election victory.
Tsai said she was deeply honored to be the sole foreign head of state invited to attend the event, but due to pressing matters of state, she would be unable to do so, the Presidential Office said in a news release.
Concerning medical cooperation, Tsai said that Taiwan’s medical team in Palau is assisting local pandemic prevention efforts, adding that Taipei has also donated masks and COVID-19 testing equipment to the island nation, and sent charter flights to transport patients seeking off-island medical treatment in Taiwan.
Whipps said that Palau appreciated Taiwan’s contribution to its successful pandemic response and added that he hopes to meet personally with Tsai in the near future to continue discussions on deepening the Taiwan-Palau alliance, the office said.
Palau, one of the nation’s 15 diplomatic allies, has had official ties with Taiwan since 1999.
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