Accompanied by Vice President Lien Chan and other senior government officials, President Lee Teng-hui this morning accorded a red-carpet welcome with full military honors to visiting President and Mrs. Rene Garcia Preval of the Republic of Haiti and their delegation.
The brief but grand welcome ceremony took place at the Art and Cultural Square of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial in Taipei. After a 21-gun salute and the playing of national anthems of the Republic of China and the Republic of Haiti, the two presidents each delivered a speech. As an expression of respect and on behalf of the citizens of the Taipei City, Mayor Chen Shui-bian presented the President of Haiti with a Key to Taipei.
In his speech, President Lee first extended, on behalf of the government and people of the ROC, a sincerest and warmest welcome to President and Mrs. Preval and other members of the visiting delegation.
President Lee said that Haiti and the ROC have enjoyed close, long-standing and friendly relations. In particular, during the more than two years of his administration, President Preval has actively promoted various cooperation projects with the ROC, based upon the spirit of sincerity and reciprocity, and thereby, has brought the traditional bonds of friendship between the two countries even closer and stronger, President Lee said.
President Lee stated that the visit by President Preval to the ROC not only marked the opening of a new chapter in the history of ROC-Haiti relations, but also provided an opportunity for the two governments to exchange views on the current international situation and on matters of mutual concern. Meanwhile, through the scheduled tour, President Preval and his delegation would better understand the ROC's development in different areas and its progress on social pluralization, President Lee continued. He said that he believed President Preval's visit would serve to enhance the existing cooperative relations and friendship between Haiti and the ROC and benefit their two peoples.
In his address, President Preval expressed his appreciation to President Lee and the ROC government for the warm hospitality accorded to his delegation. Despite the remote geographic distance between them, the ROC and Haiti have long established a close friendship based on their common ideals and values, he said.
The Haitian President asserted that today's world is a community with international law, dialogue, peace and rationality as its principles, and freedom and human rights its foundation. The ROC's respect for humanity and upholding of democracy comply with these mainstream values and have won his admiration, he remarked.
President Preval also expressed his appreciation for the investments in Haiti by ROC businessmen, which have brought prosperity to his country. He said that he hoped his trip would facilitate new exchanges and cooperation between the two countries and help enhance their economic and trade relations.
President and Mrs. Preval are on a four-day visit to the Republic of China at the invitation of President and Mrs. Lee. Other members of the visiting Haitian delegation include Foreign Minister Fritz Longceamp, Director Francois Severin of the Particular Office of the President, and Sonny Seraphin, Haitian Ambassador to the ROC.
Subsequently, the two presidents proceeded to the Presidential Office, where they exchanged views extensively on current international situation, regional issues and other matters of mutual concern. After the conversation, the two Heads of State decorated each other to symbolize the everlasting and cordial friendship between their countries and peoples.
The decorating ceremony took place at 11:00 a.m. at the Presidential Office. Those present at the occasion included the two First Ladies, ROC Vice President Lien Chan, Secretary-General to the ROC President and Mrs. Huang Kun-huei, ROC Foreign Minister Jason Hu and members of the Haitian delegation.
On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of China, President Lee decorated President Preval with the Order of Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon and Haitian Foreign Minister Fritz Longceamp with the Order of Propitious Clouds with Grand Cordon, in commendation of their outstanding contribution to the friendship and cooperation between Haiti and the ROC. In return, President Preval conferred the Order of Honor and Merit with Golden Plaque of the Grand Cross on President Lee to show his highest respect for the conferee, and the order of Honor and Merit with Silver Plaque of the Grand Cross on Foreign Minister Jason Hu for the minister's contribution to ROC-Haiti relations.
Both presidents remarked that the decorations were not only personal honors but also symbolized the close friendship and cooperation between their countries. They expressed their hope that based on the existing close relations, the two countries will continue to strengthen the cooperation between them, and thereby ensure a better life for their peoples.