The new resident ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Peter Shai-Li Lan on Monday September 13, presented his letters of credence to Governor General, Dame Susan Dougan.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said in a release that ambassador Lan holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Harvard University, USA and has an extensive career in health and diplomacy.
He also held the post of deputy representative of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia, and formerly served as Deputy Director-General, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ROC (Taiwan).
On Tuesday September 14 2021, Ambassador Lan made his first public appearance as the newly appointed ambassador, ROC (Taiwan) by handing over grant assistance in the sum of US$1,288,527.on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan to the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG). The grant agreement which was signed by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, will be used for procuring equipment to be used by the Ministry of Transport and BRAGSA in the ongoing cleanup in the aftermath of the explosive eruptions of La Soufrière volcano, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport, Works, Lands and Physical Planning Montgomery Daniel; senator Keisal Peters minister of state with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; and Kem Bartholomew, Chief Executive Officer of the Building Roads and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) attended the ceremony.
During brief remarks, Ambassador Lan noted the efforts of Taiwan in providing assistance for relief and recovery after the volcanic eruptions in the form of relief grants, medical equipment and humanitarian supplies. The ambassador also highlighted that the assistance to SVG will continue since this country is currently in the reconstruction and rehabilitation phase following the eruptions. Taiwan is currently providing support for three major projects in SVG which are: (1) the grant for the procurement of heavy equipment, (2) the repairing of the Rabacca bridge, (3) the river cleaning and debris removal (currently under review and preparation). The ambassador expressed his wish for success in the cleanup process and reaffirmed Taiwan’s commitment to assisting this country.
Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves noted that Taiwan proposed a certain sum of monetary assistance for the cleaning up process. He highlighted that, “our relations are such that we accept the generosity of our friends, but within that generous disposition the government advises the best way to use the assistance being given. We always found Taiwan to be flexible in this regard.”
Prime minister Gonsalves recognised Taiwan’s effort to assist this country during the COVID-19 pandemic, including their provision of 40,000 surgical masks, six thermal imaging devices which are currently in use at Argyle International Airport (AIA) for temperature checks, and 30 sets of oxygen concentrators. Similarly, following the 2021 eruptions of La Soufrière Taiwan gave US$300,000. and pledged to collaborate with the government and people of SVG in the rehabilitation and the reconstruction process. The Prime Minister noted that the handing over of the grant that will be used for the procurement of heavy equipment, is Taiwan honouring its pledge towards the rehabilitation process. He also highlighted other significant projects such as the Taiwan-Employment Gold Card that has been approved by Cabinet. Dr. Gonsalves thanked the President, the government and people of Taiwan for their continuous support and generosity to this country and noted that the friendship between both countries is an enduring one.
This year marks 40 years since St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Republic of China (Taiwan) established formal diplomatic relations on 15th August, 1981.
Since then, both countries have developed a close bond, a fruitful friendship built on mutual trust, shared values, respect for sovereignty, and co-operation for the mutual benefit of both country’s people in areas of common interest.