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Remarks on a Visit Accompanying His Excellency President Litokwa Tomeing of the Marshall Islands to Fata'an Village in Hualien County

Remarks on a Visit Accompanying His Excellency President Litokwa Tomeing of the Marshall Islands to Fata'an Village in Hualien County

Chen Shui-bian
Republic of China (Taiwan)
March 12, 2008

Your Excellency President Tomeing of the Marshall Islands and Madame Tomeing; Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs deBrum and Madame deBrum; Distinguished Members of the Marshall Islands Delegation; Hualien County Deputy Magistrate Chu; Dear Elders, Brothers and Sisters of Fata'an Village; Dear Teachers and Students of Guangfu Elementary School, Honored Guests:

Good morning! Yakwe!

On behalf of the government and 23 million people of Taiwan, and especially our beloved Amis compatriots, I would like to warmly welcome His Excellency President Tomeing, Madame Tomeing, and his distinguished delegation to Fata'an Village, a natural wonderland of ours. Taiwan's East Rift Valley boasts scenic views of both the mountains and the ocean, and its Fata'an Village, located at the foot of Mt. Mashi adjacent to Wukakai River, is hailed as a jewel of Hualien County. It is a great honor for us to be able to invite President Tomeing and Madame Tomeing to personally experience these scenic spots as well as the hospitality of our indigenous people.

Many renowned local and foreign scholars have pointed out that Taiwan may very well be the origin of all Austronesian peoples. Hualien County, being on Taiwan's east coast, is not only geographically close to Pacific island nations, but its indigenous people's ethnic heritage, language, culture, and social structure have been found to be remarkably similar to those of other peoples in the Oceania.

When Han immigrants came to Taiwan hundreds of years ago, intermarriages were popular between them and the indigenous peoples. Therefore, today, many Taiwanese people possess Austronesian ancestry. It is clear that the peoples of Taiwan and the Marshall Islands are more than diplomatic allies and fellow members of the Pacific community: they truly are family. As blood is thicker than water, President Tomeing and Madame Tomeing's visit to the homeland of the Amis people bears great significance to the age-old affection felt between our peoples.

I would also like to sincerely thank the Hualien County Government, Guangfu Township Administration, Guangfu Elementary School, and the children about to perform traditional Amis songs and dances for us. Since I became president, the establishment of a new partnership between the Han immigrants and the indigenous peoples of Taiwan has been a national priority. The warmth and hospitality that our friends in Fata'an Village extend to President Tomeing's delegation vividly demonstrate their determination to assist in bolstering the government's efforts to expand and deepen ties with our diplomatic allies. It also reveals that the people of Taiwan, regardless of their ethnic origin and geographical affiliation, want to do their utmost for the future of their nation. I believe that all of the distinguished guests from our close ally, the Marshall Islands, have felt the true and earnest friendship of the people of Taiwan. May our two countries remain the most faithful and closest of friends forever!

Lastly, I would like to express myself in Marshallese: Komotata! Thank you once again, Your Excellency President Tomeing, Madame Tomeing, and your delegation for visiting! May all of you enjoy the best of health and happiness! Thank you.

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