Taipei, Oct. 15 (CNA) Republic of China President Chen Shui-bian reaffirmed Sunday that the ROC would like to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Haiti in every aspect.
Chen also expressed the hope that Haitian President Rene Preval gained a better understanding of the ROC during his visit and will work toward increasing bilateral relations based on the solid foundation of the two countries' relationship.
The Haitian president and his wife, leading an official delegation, arrived in Taipei Oct. 9 to attend celebration activities marking the ROC's Double Ten National Day. President Preval, accompanied by Vice Foreign Affairs Minister David Lee, called on President Chen at the Presidential Office to bid him farewell before departing later in the day.
President Chen noted that this was President Preval's second visit to Taiwan and that he is the only Haitian head of state to visit the ROC twice, showing that Preval attaches great importance to the ROC-Haiti friendship.
The President said that he hopes to visit the Caribbean country soon to reciprocate the long-term support of the ROC by the Haitian government and people.
Chen also lauded Preval as a true friend of Taiwan, saying that although the Haitian president cannot seek re-election after completing his five-year term as stated in the Haitian constitution, "we welcome him to visit again as an expert in agriculture so as to promote further exchanges and cooperation between the two sides."
Chen also expressed the hope that the year-end presidential election in Haiti will be go smoothly. He took the chance to say happy birthday to the daughter of President Preval to the delight of the visiting guests.
President Preval said he appreciated the warm hospitality extended to him and his delegation during the visit, adding that he is impressed by the political and economic development of the ROC. He said that his first visit to Taiwan in 1998 was a journey of discovery of the ROC and that he learned a lot more during this trip, adding that this visit was aimed at increasing bilateral cooperation between the two countries. He noted that Taiwan and Haiti are similar in many ways, adding that his country needs to learn a lot from Taiwan's political and economic development. He also vowed to continue promoting the bilateral friendship even after he steps down as president next February, saying he will work with the new government of Haiti to this end.
President Preval also again extended an invitation to President Chen and his wife to visit his country soon.