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  • President Ma spends a third day in The Gambia
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President Ma spends a third day in The Gambia. President Ying-jeou Ma spends a third day in The Gambia. President Ma Ying-jeou spends a third day in The Gambia.
President Ma Ying-jeou spent a third day in The Gambia on a journey to Africa codenamed "Project Benevolence and Friendship."

After spending the night in the home village of The Gambia President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President Ma and the delegation from Taiwan headed to the Port of Banjul where they arrived at 11:20 a.m. on April 13 (7:20 p.m. on April 13 Taipei time). After reviewing The Gambia's naval color guard, the president inspected four fast attack boats presented to The Gambia by the ROC in 2009. Local officials briefed President Ma on the equipment on the vessels and the missions they carry out. President Ma said he was very pleased to see that the donation of the vessels has made an effective contribution to bilateral military cooperation.

Shortly thereafter, the president headed to The Gambia National Museum for a tour, followed by a visit to the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital where he received a briefing on the facility's operations by The Gambia Health and Social Welfare Minister Fatim Badjie. The president was escorted to the radiology center, which is outfitted with CAT scan and MRI equipment donated by the ROC.

In the afternoon, President Ma visited the ROC Embassy to The Gambia and listened to a briefing on the embassy's affairs by Ambassador Chen Shih-liang (陳士良). The president expressed his appreciation to the embassy staff and their families for the hard work they are carrying out on behalf of the nation.

Meanwhile, the ROC in March of this year established the Taiwan Cultural Center to provide a place where Gambian students who have studied in Taiwan can come in contact with and continue to learn Chinese once they return home. The center also serves as a place to foster cultural interaction between the two countries. The president toured the facility to understand the state of its operation.

In the evening, the president held a banquet to express his gratitude to the staff and families from the ROC embassy, as well as the crew of the China Airlines charter aircraft servicing this journey. The president also presented gifts to the ROC Technical Mission to The Gambia and a team of medical personnel from Taiwan’s Mackay Memorial Hospital that provides free clinical services in The Gambia. President Ma applauded the contributions made by these individuals in carrying out their work in The Gambia and expressed his hopes that they will continue to do their best.

The president stated that since arriving in The Gambia, crowds have lined the streets in many places to welcome him. Some extra-enthusiastic supporters have even run alongside his motorcade, which has made a deep impression on him with regard to the fondness that the public has for President Jammeh. He said this also demonstrates that while Taiwan is geographically a long way away from its African allies, the warmth of the friendship is even greater than the toasty temperatures in this part of the world.

President Ma noted that the ROC and The Gambia resumed formal diplomatic relations in 1995 and that President Jammeh, who entered the political arena as a mid-ranking military officer in 1994, has become a legendary figure. After becoming the President, he has brought a tremendous sense of wellbeing and pride to the people of The Gambia, which is Africa's smallest nation in terms of land area, by attaching great importance to education, health care, and women's rights.

President Ma remarked that the relationship between the ROC and The Gambia is based on shared values rather than material goods or money. Over the years, the two countries have provided assistance to each other, he said, pointing out that The Gambia has spoken out on behalf of the ROC in many international venues and that the government and people of the ROC will always remember these gestures. Meanwhile, the ROC is more than willing to generously share with The Gambia. In particular, the president noted that last year the ROC provided assistance to help deal with a drought in The Gambia. In addition, several universities in Taipei have established courses to train students from The Gambia, he said.

The president stressed that Taiwan has many opportunities to show the international community the core values of the Taiwan people, namely integrity, kindness, honesty, diligence, enterprising spirit, and tolerance. If Taiwan is able to take advantage of its soft power to assist countries that need assistance and enable the international community to realize that Taiwan's existence is an asset to the world, we will without a doubt receive more support and recognition for our efforts. He said that embassy personnel, including individuals involved in agricultural technology, health care, solar energy, and vocational training assistance, are the most important force in helping the ROC achieve its desired role in the international community and generating goodwill for the ROC throughout the world.
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