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Ing-Jie Project :::

Purpose and achievements

Steadfast diplomacy—President Tsai visits four allies in Central America

Purpose

The Republic of Nicaragua, a Central American diplomatic ally of Taiwan, completed a smooth and successful presidential election on November 6, 2016 resulting in the re-election of incumbent President Daniel Ortega and the election of First Lady Rosario Murillo as vice president. They assumed office on January 10, 2017 and President Ortega formally invited President Tsai Ing-wen to attend his inauguration ceremony. In response to President Ortega's warm invitation, and in order to enhance Taiwan's ties with diplomatic allies in the region, President Tsai led a delegation to Nicaragua for the inauguration ceremony, while also visiting neighboring Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador which are all diplomatic allies of Taiwan.

President Tsai departed on January 7, 2017 and returned on January 15. The delegation made two transit stops in the United States – Houston on the outbound leg and San Francisco on the return leg. In addition to solidifying alliances, seizing on opportunities for Taiwan to take to the world stage, and enhancing bilateral cooperation with the countries being visited, the president took advantage of "summit diplomacy" during the trip to strengthen friendly ties with diplomatic allies in Central America. She also saw first-hand the successes that had been achieved through multilateral cooperation under the aegis of the Central American Integration System (SICA). This trip was also intended to boost economic and trade ties and cooperation with Taiwan's diplomatic allies and to continue promoting the government's "steadfast diplomacy". President Tsai held banquets for Taiwanese expatriates in the ally countries and the US to convey praise for the many long years they have spent working and making contributions to overseas community affairs and to show support for all Taiwanese who are living and working overseas.

The delegation members included: National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維), Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, Deputy Secretary-General to the President Yao Jen-to (姚人多), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁), six lawmakers from the ruling and opposition parties, Yilan County Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Javier Ching-shan Hou (侯清山), Vice Minister of Agriculture Weng Chang-liang (翁章梁), Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang (王美花), and seven representatives of state-owned enterprises and industries from the field of textile, tourism, renewable energy, and science & technology.

Itinerary (All times are local)

 

Achievements

The "Ing-Jie Project" afforded President Tsai a chance to visit Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador, where she experienced first-hand the sights and sounds of these countries and met for frank discussions with their heads of state. By seeing these countries for herself, she was able to develop an unfiltered understanding of the needs of these diplomatic allies and build up mutual trust and consensus regarding how to promote bilateral economic, trade, and investment ties based on the principle of mutual assistance for mutual benefits. She was also able to personally assist our diplomatic allies with the promotion of key industries, and to once again successfully act upon the principle of "steadfast diplomacy and mutual assistance for mutual benefits." The visits went very smoothly and yielded significant successes.

During the nine-day, eight-night "Ing-Jie Project," President Tsai communicated to our diplomatic allies Taiwan's firm intention to maintain strong bilateral relations while demonstrating that Taiwan is undaunted by difficulties and pressure and is determined to follow through on its intent to actively engage with the international community. The following are some of the successes achieved during the trip:

During this overseas trip, President Tsai and her accompanying delegation were greeted upon arrival in each country they visited with solemn ceremonies or military honors, and the president took part in bilateral talks with the heads of state in all four countries for in-depth discussions on bilateral and international matters of shared concern.

President Tsai's personality traits and the sincerity of the heads of state she met helped to establish high-level bilateral trust and positive interactions, thus fulfilling the function of a head of state to strengthen our country's foreign relations.

 

Arrangements were made during this trip (with due consideration given to the developmental situation and needs of each country visited) for interactions with business leaders and government officials with economic, trade, or agricultural portfolios. These interactions helped our business leaders to understand where they might find favorable opportunities for themselves of our diplomatic allies, expand investments there, enhance bilateral economic and trade ties, and expand their global presence.

President Tsai also acted as an ideal spokesperson in the countries visited, helping to promote key industries and unique products, and in this role she was highly praised by governments there and received very positive attention in the local media.

 

The six legislators from both the ruling and opposition camps who took part in the delegation engaged in talks with parliamentarians in the countries visited to enhance mutual understanding and interactions.

While visiting Guatemala, President Tsai appeared before parliament to deliver an address in which she explained Taiwan's "steadfast diplomacy" concept and pointed out that Taiwan and Guatemala have a shared commitment to democracy. Her remarks were met with enthusiastic applause and successfully communicated to audiences at home and abroad Taiwan's firm intention to work together with its diplomatic allies to pursue democracy, freedom, mutual interest, and co-prosperity.

 

While visiting Honduras and El Salvador, President Tsai met for discussions with young students and people from those countries who have studied in Taiwan. The president indicated during those discussions that Taiwan intends to expand its scholarship programs, and encouraged scholarship students to return to their home countries after graduating to contribute their abilities and serve as a bridge for communication and interactions between their countries and Taiwan.

Also, in order to help our diplomatic allies narrow the digital divide and cultivate information technology specialists while affording Taiwan's high-tech industry opportunities to play a role in our government's overseas cooperation projects, business leaders traveling with the delegation donated cloud-based digital education systems in each of the four countries visited and pledged to provide ongoing education and training, thus demonstrating Taiwan's intention to work together with its diplomatic allies to pursue win-win progress in the spirit of mutual assistance for mutual benefits.

 

During this trip to four Central American countries, President Tsai received extensive positive coverage in both local and international news media, thus improving Taiwan's international image. While attending the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, President Tsai interacted with various Latin American heads of state who were on hand, thereby raising Taiwan's international profile and helping to enhance relations between Taiwan and the countries of Latin America. During the trip, in addition to communicating to diplomatic allies Taiwan's firm intention to maintain strong bilateral relations, President Tsai also demonstrated that Taiwan is undaunted by difficulties and pressure and is determined to follow through on its intent to actively engage with the international community.

 

In each of the four countries on the itinerary, President Tsai received a warm welcome from expatriates in those and nearby countries. They turned out in big numbers to attend expatriate community banquets, clearly showing that expatriates are very supportive of our government.

President Tsai praised expatriates as well as business persons, diplomats, technical mission personnel, and men doing alternative military service for the long time they've spent working overseas, and noted that they are the cornerstone of good relations between Taiwan and the government and people of its diplomatic allies.

 

During this trip President Tsai made transit stops in Houston and San Francisco, and activities in those two cities went very smoothly, yielding the following concrete successes:

  • The US State Department accorded high-level courtesies, and local police departments provided large motorcades to maintain security: The US authorities acted in line with the principles of safety, convenience, comfort, and respect in providing high-level courtesies and security to the delegation during border clearance. Also, police departments in Houston and San Francisco dispatched officers to provide traffic control and maintain security. It is thus clear that our president's visit was accorded great importance by US authorities from federal to local levels.
  • The president leveraged the "five plus two" innovative industries initiative and promoted Taiwan's cultural soft power: During a transit stop in the United States, President Tsai visited the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, toured an exhibit of works of art from Taiwan's National Palace Museum at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, visited the head offices of Twitter Inc., and attended a reception marking the opening of the San Francisco Bay Area office of Taiwan's Asia Silicon Valley Development Agency, where she interacted with people involved in the "five plus two" innovative industries initiative. During the stopover the president had opportunities to learn first-hand about the current state of related industries in the United States and possibilities for cooperation, and at the same time was able to promote Taiwan's outstanding cultural soft power.
  • President Tsai had enthusiastic interactions with heavyweight members of US Congress, and had visits and discussions with local government leaders: Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (Republican, Arizona) and Chairman Cory Gardner (Republican, Colorado) of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia both greeted President Tsai by phone, and numerous other members of Congress gave concrete expressions of support for enhancement of Taiwan-US relations. For example, Congressman Blake Farenthold (Republican, Texas) and Congressman Joe Barton (Republican, Texas; Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce) both accompanied the president throughout her time in Texas. In addition, Senator Ted Cruz (Republican, Texas) called on President Tsai at her hotel, while Congresspersons Sheila Jackson Lee (Democrat, Texas) and Al Green (Democrat, Texas) attended a banquet for Taiwanese expatriates. Senator Cruz, Chairman Emeritus Barton, and Congressmen Farenthold followed up on their meetings with President Tsai by issuing Taiwan-friendly news releases or social media posts, thus demonstrating how staunchly the US Congress supports Taiwan.
  • Warm welcomes from expatriates, sumptuous expatriate banquets: During her stopover visits in the United States, President Tsai was warmly welcomed by leading US politicians. Local expatriates, moreover, enthusiastically attended expatriate banquets, with over 600 at the banquet in Houston and more than 800 in San Francisco – the biggest attendance numbers seen in recent years.

 

 
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