On the morning of October 28, President Tsai Ing-wen departed on her trip to visit three diplomatic allies in the Pacific—the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands. Her departure marked the beginning of an eight-day, seven-night trip with the theme "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future—2017 State Visits to Pacific Allies." In remarks issued before boarding the plane, the president said this trip has two main goals. One is to prove to the world that Taiwan has the ability and will to make even more contributions to international society. The other is to represent all the people of Taiwan, and venture out to the front line to thank our diplomatic staff, members of our technical and medical missions, our local overseas compatriots, and Taiwanese business people.
The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
We're about to depart on state visits to three of our diplomatic allies in the Pacific—the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands.
Diplomatic achievements don't happen all at once. They accumulate over time. So diplomatic work has to be sustained, without regard for party or factional considerations.
Relations between Taiwan and its Pacific allies began with the establishment of formal diplomatic ties under former presidents Chiang Ching-kuo and Lee Teng-hui. Our current achievements are also the result of efforts by former president Chen Shui-bian, who built a solid foundation, and former president Ma Ying-jeou who continued those efforts.
The spirit of this trip is: "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future."
"Sustainable Austronesia" expresses our desire to work with our friends in Pacific island nations to contribute to sustainable global development. Taiwan is currently working to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and we have released our first Voluntary National Review. I hope we can share our development experiences with our allies.
"Working Together for a Better Future" expresses our continued efforts to realize the values inherent in our "steadfast diplomacy and mutual assistance for mutual benefits" policy. We firmly believe that steadfast cooperation is the foundation of friendship. My proposed Official Development Assistance plan, based on the experiences of other advanced nations, will integrate foreign aid, cooperation, and investment into our diplomatic, economic, and trade strategy. This will allow Taiwan to make even greater contributions to international society.
Therefore, this trip has two important objectives.
First, we want to prove to the world that Taiwan has the ability and the will to make even greater contributions to the international community.
Our diplomatic allies in the Pacific have long spoken up at a variety of international bodies to support Taiwan's right to international participation, and we want to express our gratitude. At the same time, by discussing cooperation plans and engaging in direct dialogue between national leaders, we can make even more contributions to global environmental sustainability and regional development.
Second, I want to represent all the people of Taiwan, and venture out to the front line to thank our diplomatic staff, members of our technical and medical missions, our local overseas compatriots, and Taiwanese business people.
They are at the forefront of foreign relations, and the best spokespeople for "steadfast diplomacy." Taiwanese living overseas are actively putting that policy into practice. National diplomacy cannot be subject to party divisions, or distinctions between the government and the private sector. We must all pull together, and give our best efforts for Taiwan.
I am always working to achieve for unity and cooperation. We should cooperate not only in the area of diplomacy, but also on domestic policy, and I believe the people of Taiwan have high expectations for dialogue and cooperation between political parties.
In my National Day address, I invited the leaders of the opposition to exchange views about important matters of state. Before departing on this trip, I want to remind both the governing and opposition parties again that we can only resolve differences of opinion through dialogue and communication. If we can show unity in the field of diplomacy, then there is no reason we cannot cooperate on domestic issues.
While Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and I are traveling, I have instructed Deputy Secretary-General Liu Chien-sin (劉建忻) to continue liaison work and do everything possible to encourage dialogue between the governing and opposition parties.
In diplomacy and domestic issues, our convictions remain the same: Only through unity and cooperation can we complete our mission. Let the nation unite in the spirit of cooperation, and give our best efforts. Thank you. We're off!
Among those at the airport to see the president off were National Security Council Secretary-General Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發), Deputy Secretary-General Liu Chien-sin, National Security Bureau Director-General Peng Sheng-Chu (彭勝竹), Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Chih-Chung (吳志中), Deputy Minister of the Overseas Community Affairs Council Tien Chiu-Chin (田秋堇), Nicaraguan Ambassador to the ROC William Manuel Tapia Aleman (head of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan), and a representative of the Marshall Islands.