President Tsai Ing-wen and her delegation arrived at Tuvalu's Funafuti International Airport at 12 o'clock noon on November 1 local time (8:00 a.m. on November 1, Taipei time). Tuvalu is the second stop on the president's current diplomatic mission, dubbed "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future—2017 State Visits to Pacific Allies."
After the chartered aircraft touched down, ROC Ambassador to Tuvalu Marc J.C. Su (蘇仁崇) and Tuvalu protocol officer Mahu Tinapa boarded the plane to greet the president. Then Tuvalu Governor-General Iakoba Taeia Italeli welcomed her at the foot of the airstair and accompanied her along a traditional coconut-frond mat to a dais, where they received a salute from a police honor guard. President Tsai then proceeded to the Parliament of Tuvalu, where she was presented with a floral garland. The host country then welcomed President Tsai with a traditional dance performance, and the president sprinkled water on the performers, an act of approval and praise in Tuvalu culture.
In remarks, President Tsai said she was very happy to visit a diplomatic ally in a beautiful country like Tuvalu, and get to see Taiwan's good friends.
President Tsai stated that she has often heard Tuvalu described as a "heaven at sea," where beautiful coral islets dot the South Pacific like a pearl necklace. But for the people of Taiwan, she added, Tuvalu means more than just beautiful scenery—it means firm friendship.
President Tsai pointed out that Tuvalu is Taiwan's oldest diplomatic ally in the Pacific, establishing official relations 38 years ago. Since then, the two countries have remained true to their shared commitment to democracy and human rights, and have also laid a solid foundation for friendship through wide-ranging cooperation and exchanges in such fields as agriculture, healthcare, clean energy, and culture.
For many years now, said President Tsai, many people from Taiwan have been coming to this beautiful nation to work alongside the people of Tuvalu to build better lives and pursue sustainable development. The president expressed hope that cooperation between the two governments will result in closer bilateral relations and sustainable national development.
And finally, President Tsai thanked Governor-General Italeli as well as the government and people of Tuvalu for their warm welcome, and expressed hope that this visit will prove beneficial for both sides.
Among those on hand were Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga and Mrs. Sopoaga, cabinet members and their spouses, and other senior government officials.