PM Gonsalves pays visit to Taiwan
October 14, 2016
PM Gonsalves pays visit to Taiwan

On the morning of October 11, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Prime Minister Ralph E Gonsalves and Mrs Gonsalves. On behalf of the Government and people of Taiwan, President Tsai welcomed and thanked Prime Minister Gonsalves for coming to Taiwan a tenth time as the head of a delegation, and expressed hope that the already friendly relations between the two countries will further grow and flourish.

In remarks, President Tsai noted that Taiwan and SVG marked the 35th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations just this past August.{{more}} This visit to Taiwan by Prime Minister Gonsalves and his delegation to attend our National Day celebrations, the president said, clearly demonstrates to the people of Taiwan that the SVG Government takes Taiwan seriously and values its friendship. Noting that SVG was hit hard this past September by Hurricane Matthew, the president took the opportunity to extend condolences and express her sincere hope that those affected can get their lives back to normal as soon as possible.

Describing SVG as Taiwan’s most loyal diplomatic ally in the eastern Caribbean region, President Tsai congratulated Prime Minister Gonsalves for leading his Unity Labour Party to victory in the general elections of December 2015. The president noted that this marked the fourth consecutive time Gonsalves has been elected as prime minister, and by the time he completes his current term, he will have become the longest-serving incumbent prime minister anywhere in the Caribbean and Latin American regions, and one of the most senior heads of state leaders in the world, which is a truly remarkable achievement, she said.

President Tsai also thanked Prime Minister Gonsalves for conveying congratulations immediately after announcement of the result of Taiwan’s presidential election earlier this year, and for sending SVG’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Louis Straker as his envoy to attend the inauguration ceremony on May 20, which fully showed the depth of the bilateral friendship.

President Tsai stated that the Government and people of SVG have long supported Taiwan in its efforts to participate in the activities of United Nations specialized agencies and other international bodies. In particular, ever since taking office in 2001, Prime Minister Gonsalves has spoken in defence of Taiwan each year at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly, and this past August he sent a letter to the president of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to support Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO Assembly.

President Tsai pointed out that Taiwan and SVG enjoy stable diplomatic relations, and cooperation projects are yielding excellent results in such areas as infrastructure, agriculture, medical care, education, and culture. In addition, at SVG’s largest infrastructure project currently underway – the Argyle International Airport Project – the terminal building is being built by Taiwan’s Overseas Engineering & Construction Company. The airport is scheduled to begin operations late this year, for which President Tsai extended her congratulations and said that it makes her feel proud to be a faithful partner in SVG’s infrastructure development undertakings.

President Tsai mentioned that it was 2004 when Taiwan first started offering scholarships for youth from SVG to study in Taiwan, and 126 SVG young people have thus far enrolled in degree programmes in Taiwan, which has done much to bring about closer ties between the people of the two countries. In fact, three children of Prime Minister Gonsalves have all studied Chinese in Taiwan, and his niece is studying here right now. The president encouraged the prime minister’s children to come back and pursue further education in Taiwan.

President Tsai stressed that Taiwan highly values its friendly diplomatic ties and close cooperation with SVG, and expressed hope that bilateral relations will grow closer and continue to flourish.(Embassy of Taiwan)