At 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 10 local time (2:30 a.m. on January 11 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a luncheon for representatives of the Taiwanese expatriate community in Nicaragua, whom she commended for the contributions they've made overseas over a period of many years.
The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
I am very thankful to our many friends in the expatriate community for showing up to greet us when we arrived in Nicaragua yesterday afternoon. Every time I travel overseas and arrive somewhere, whether it be an airport or a hotel, I am always met by the enthusiasm of the expatriates there. I want to thank everyone. You've really gone the extra mile.
I've undertaken this visit to Nicaragua in order to attend the inauguration of President Ortega. Because this involves a series of state visits in Central America, I am unable to stay very long in any one country, so this luncheon is the only opportunity I have to meet with you all.
Taiwan and Nicaragua are both countries that must pursue development in the face of geopolitical, economic, and trade challenges. For many years, Taiwan and Nicaragua have maintained a firm friendship.
Over the past several decades, many Taiwanese people have come to Nicaragua and set down roots all over the country. Our diplomats on the front lines are doing everything they can each day to ensure Taiwan's survival and its international position.
The members of our technical mission, too, work hard in various fields of cooperation to promote substantive friendship between our two countries. Needless to say, there are also a lot of expatriates and people running Taiwanese firms in this country who are toiling away here, far from their native land.
Thanks in part to the hard work of our technical mission personnel, a Nicaraguan rice seed development center has risen to fame as Central America's leading brand for rice improvement. We have a lot of colleagues who have worked to develop improved cattle and cultivate breeding hogs. These efforts are all being made in order to build a strong foundation for friendship between Taiwan and Nicaragua.
I had the opportunity this morning to go to a duty free export processing zone and learn about the Taiwanese firms turning out textiles there. Expatriates and locally based Taiwanese companies have built a new world here in this land. They have created both job opportunities and business opportunities, and made many contributions to Nicaraguan economic development over the past few years.
Since the 2006 Free Trade Agreement Between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of Nicaragua entered into force, there has been a more robust foundation for interaction between Taiwan and Nicaragua. Now, Taiwan has become Nicaragua's largest export market in Asia and eighth-largest in the world. These successes stand as evidence of the hard work that Taiwanese people are doing overseas.
I have always emphasized the need for steadfast diplomacy based on mutual assistance for mutual benefits. There must be true understanding and assistance between Taiwan and its diplomatic allies. At the same time, our two countries must both benefit.
And in addition to the work of governments, embassies, and technical missions, we also need strenuous effort from all of our expatriates and locally based Taiwanese companies. I want to take this opportunity to thank you all on behalf of our country for everything that you have done.
This is my first time in Nicaragua. It's a beautiful country with the prettiest lakes, the most magnificent volcanoes, and a most wonderful people.
This trip constitutes a state visit, but beyond that there is another point in coming here—I hope this trip will make the people of Taiwan more aware of our beautiful allied countries in Central America.
Our Tourism Bureau is already studying the possibility of joining hands with the embassies of our diplomatic allies to set up a "diplomatic allies zone" at the annual Taipei International Travel Fair. The hope is that, by providing travel information, we can encourage the people of Taiwan to travel to our Central American diplomatic allies to see first-hand the beautiful scenery and witness the friendship that exists between our countries.
Friends from many different fields are traveling with us as members of our delegation, including people from the business community, several legislators, and Yilan County Magistrate Lin Tsung-hsien (林聰賢). Please stand up for a second and say hello to everyone.
Without regard to political affiliation, we work as one in a shared effort to demonstrate the determination of the people of Taiwan to engage with the rest of the world. We all need to keep working together.
All our efforts are undertaken in order to make Taiwan better, and to establish even firmer diplomatic ties with Nicaragua. I want to wish Taiwan and Nicaragua success and prosperity. And for each of you here, may you enjoy good health, happy families, and success in your careers. The lunar new year is coming soon, so I'll also extend to you early season's greetings. Happy Chinese New Year!