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President Tsai attends state banquet hosted by Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren
President Tsai attends state banquet hosted by Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren

At the noon hour on Friday, January 13 local time (early morning of January 14 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen and her accompanying delegation, who were in Central America on a trip codenamed the "Ing-Jie Project," attended a state banquet hosted by Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.

In remarks, President Tsai said she was honored to receive a decoration from President Sanchez, and to be invited by him to a state banquet. President Tsai took the opportunity to convey her most sincere thanks and best wishes, and welcomed President Sanchez and his wife to arrange a time to visit Taiwan as soon as possible. They would certainly receive the best of hospitality, she noted.

President Tsai mentioned that there is a place just off the northern coast of Taiwan called Heping Island that the Spanish had once called San Salvador, and they built a fort there which they named San Salvador Fort. How extraordinary it is, she said, that the same place name should have been used centuries ago, during the Age of Discovery, in both Taiwan and El Salvador. Ever since the two countries established diplomatic relations in the first half of the 20th century, ties between them have steadily grown deeper, particularly with regard to the development of economic and trade relations, public health, and agriculture.

President Tsai mentioned that Taiwan and El Salvador have very close ties in the field of literature. The Taiwanese poet Lee Kuei-shien (李魁賢 ), for example, once went to El Salvador to take part in the 1st International Poetry Festival there, and on the flight back to Taiwan he wrote a poem in which he calls Salvadorans "a people of poetry." In the poem, Lee describes how, after he finished reciting his work at the Poetry Festival, Salvadorans thronged about him, "congratulating me, shaking hands, asking for my autographs, and giving me hugs." The warmth they showed was the sort you show to family members, he said, and it practically had him wondering "which of these people might be my bride from a past, present, or future life."

In concluding her remarks, President Tsai once again thanked President Sanchez for his gracious hospitality, and then raised a toast to everyone at the banquet to express a wish for a lasting friendship between Taiwan and El Salvador.

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