President Ma Ying-jeou on the morning of March 16 expressed his deepest appreciation to Solomon Islands Ambassador to the ROC Victor S. Ngele for making every effort to promote friendship between the two countries since taking his post in January 2010. As Ambassador Ngele prepares to leave Taiwan, the president praised the important contributions that he has made during his tenure here.
The president stated that the ROC and the Solomon Islands established diplomatic ties in 1983 and that next year will mark the 30th anniversary of formal relations between the two nations. He remarked that the Solomon Islands is one of the ROC's most important allies in the South Pacific, adding that the two maintain close cooperation in the fields of medicine, hygiene, agricultural technology, fisheries, and education. In particular, important achievements have been seen thanks to the efforts of the ROC's agricultural technology mission, as well as the recent promotion of a solar power project for that nation. President Ma said that since he took office in May 2008, friendly relations between the ROC and the Solomon Islands have helped to improve the ROC's relationship with Australia, an added benefit that he is extremely pleased to see.
The president also shared with Ambassador Ngele recollections from his two trips to the Solomon Islands, saying that his visits to see the implementation of bilateral cooperation projects left a deep impression on him. The president furthermore stated that the Solomon Islands is the only ROC ally in the South Pacific that he has visited twice. He recounted that on his first visit to the nation in 1997, he toured the National Referral Hospital, which was constructed with assistance from the ROC. Today, third-phase construction of the facility has been completed, and the hospital continues to be the most important medical treatment facility in the Solomon Islands. During his second visit in 2010, the president said he visited a rice production area that was created with the assistance of Taiwan's agricultural technology mission. He recalled how the green paddies reminded him very much of those here in Taiwan. The president further mentioned that he hopes the successful experience of rice cultivation in the Solomon islands can be extended to other areas.
President Ma specially remarked that he was touched by the gesture of Stanley Tapeva, a village chief in the Solomon Islands, who raised money for Taiwan after southern and eastern Taiwan experienced devastating flooding and landslides caused by Typhoon Morakot in 2009. The president also thanked the government of the Solomon Islands for advocating meaningful participation for Taiwan in the international community in many venues. He said he hopes that Ambassador Ngele will continue to maintain contact with the ROC after returning home and that the ambassador will continue to work together with the ROC to promote the bilateral alliance. He also asked Ambassador Ngele to communicate to Prime Minister Danny Philip and Governor General Frank Kabui the desire of the people from both nations to further bolster mutual friendship.
Ambassador Ngele was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Shen-Yeaw Ko (柯森耀) to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Chih-kung Liu (劉志攻).