On the evening of October 3, President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Chen Chien-jen hosted a state banquet at the Presidential Office Building for a visiting delegation from the Republic of Honduras led by President Juan Orlando Hernandez and the First Lady. The two heads of state exchanged decorations and called for further enhancement of the two countries' diplomatic ties and cooperative relationship.
The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
I would like to start by once again offering a warm welcome to President and Mrs. Hernandez and all the other members of the visiting delegation.
President Hernandez came to Taiwan in 2010 in his capacity as president of the National Congress of Honduras, and after assuming the presidency he came again to Taiwan in July 2015 as the head of a delegation. He is a staunch friend of Taiwan, and our government is honored to have him here once more.
As a gesture of praise and gratitude for the support and contributions rendered to Taiwan-Honduras relations by President Hernandez, just a few minutes ago, acting on behalf of the Taiwan government, I conferred upon him the Order of Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon, which is our country's highest decoration. At the same time, I was very happy to receive the Order of Francisco Morazan Grand Cross with Gold Star from President Hernandez.
The honor of receiving this decoration belongs to the people of Taiwan. In addition to symbolizing the friendly alliance between our two countries, it also carries with it an expectation for both sides to work together on the existing friendship to enhance cooperation and to apply our energies toward the promotion of the bilateral relations.
Honduras, just like Taiwan, is faced by the challenge of reform. Since taking office, President Hernandez has faced the difficulties head on, successfully improving law and order, increasing jobs, booming the economy, and spurring investment growth. He also has implemented just and fair social welfare programs which have improved the people's quality of life. As President Hernandez has said: "Honduras is changing, because good things are happening." As a diplomatic ally of Honduras, we the government and people of Taiwan extend our sincerest good wishes and congratulations to President Hernandez for his various undertakings.
Cooperation between Taiwan and Honduras has always been close. In the area of traditional agricultural and fisheries technology, bilateral cooperation dates back many decades. Taiwan—acting within the bilateral cooperation framework and taking guidance from the policy priorities of the administration of President Hernandez—is doing everything it can to push forward with cooperation programs in the fields of education, public health, social services, and infrastructure.
In recent years, over 200 students from Honduras have studied in Taiwan for bachelor's and master's degrees with financial assistance from the Taiwan Scholarship Program. In fact, the three children of President and Mrs. Hernandez have come to Taiwan to seek master's degrees and study Chinese. I am confident that education and cultural exchange can build friendship between the people of our two countries.
I would also like to mention at this point that the eldest son of President and Mrs. Hernandez has studied Chinese in Taiwan. While here, he used his professional-level camera skills to record his experience in Taiwan, and since returning to Honduras he has put on an exhibition of his work. We are grateful that their son has enabled more people in Honduras to see scenes from Taiwan and develop a better understanding of our country.
This visit to Taiwan by President and Mrs. Hernandez will help promote our diplomatic ties. Although our distinguished guests will only be in Taiwan for a few days, I hope that all of you will return home with lasting memories of a wonderful stay here.
And now, I would like to invite all of our distinguished guests to join me in raising a glass to wish the best of success and good health for President and Mrs. Hernandez, prosperity for Honduras, and lasting diplomatic ties between our two countries.