TAIPEI-President Tsai Ing-wen said May 15 that Tuvalu ties are going from strength to strength as evidenced by frequent high-level exchanges as well as the diplomatic ally’s unwavering backing for Taiwan’s international participation.
Tuvalu has expressed staunch support for Taiwan’s attendance at the 71st World Health Assembly. The South Pacific country’s health minister recently wrote to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to request that a proposal inviting the nation to participate as an observer be included on the agenda.
The government and people of Taiwan sincerely appreciate these efforts, the president said, adding that she looks forward to further enhancing the robust friendship between the two sides.
Tsai made the remarks while receiving Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele S. Sopoaga at the Office of the President in Taipei City. Sopoaga is leading a nine-strong delegation also comprising Health Minister Satini Tulaga Manuella on a May 11-17 visit.
Noting her trip to Tuvalu last year during an eight-day official tour of three diplomatic allies in the South Pacific including Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands, the president said that this is her fourth meeting with Sopoaga since she took office in May 2016. Such regular exchanges highlight the close bond between the nations, she added.
The government is committed to expanding the robust bilateral partnership in areas including education and sustainable development, Tsai said. Related efforts in this regard include increasing scholarship quotas for Tuvalu citizens to study in Taiwan as well as boosting collaboration on talent cultivation in fields like hydropower and tourism.
Tsai congratulated Tuvalu on joining the International Civil Aviation Organization last year as well as securing the right to host the 2019 Pacific Island Forum. Going forward, she said that the government will work with Tuvalu on deepening Taiwan’s role in the Pacific region and promoting implementation of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two countries enjoy close relations since establishing official ties 39 years ago, with bilateral cooperation projects spanning such areas as agriculture, clean energy, health care and infrastructure. (Taiwan Today)