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President Tsai holds reception in Solomon Islands for traveling press corps
President Tsai holds reception in Solomon Islands for traveling press corps

At 3:20 p.m. on November 2 (Thursday) local time (12:20 p.m. on November 2, Taipei time), President Tsia Ing-wen held a reception at her hotel in the Solomon Islands for the press corps traveling with her delegation. In addition to explaining to the media what has been achieved on this trip, she also responded to questions from reporters.

President Tsai stated that during this visit to Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Pacific, she has met with President Hilda C. Heine of the Marshall Islands, Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga of Tuvalu, and Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of the Solomon Islands. In addition to signing several memorandums of understanding (MOUs), they also conducted dialogue and discussions on bilateral cooperation.

The president noted that on this trip, she and her delegation members paid especially close attention to cooperation in the following three areas: education, healthcare, and agriculture. Taiwan has demonstrated its prowess in each of these three areas, and shown that it is capable of contributing to the international community.

In the area of education, President Tsai pointed out that the Taiwan government has established a presidential scholarship program in the Marshall Islands to provide financial support to students from low-income households. Taiwan's Taipei Medical University Shuang Ho Hospital also provides opportunities for graduates of I-Shou University's School of Medicine for International Students to do internships at Majuro Hospital. In Tuvalu, Taiwan provided elementary school students with new bookbags, and will support technical and vocational education and training.

President Tsai emphasized that earlier in the day she has also announced that there will be an additional 18 higher education scholarships earmarked for our six Pacific allies. We welcome more young people from those countries to come to Taiwan to pursue higher education degrees. Education enables people to escape from poverty and improve their lives, and Taiwan is in a position to help its allies in the Pacific with this very fundamental assistance.

The president then turned to healthcare, saying that in addition to the Marshall Islands internship program, Taiwan also continued to help enhance the capabilities of its Pacific allies' mobile medical teams. Taiwan's medical teams—Shuang Ho Hospital in the Marshall Islands, Chung Shan Medical University in Tuvalu, and Kaohsiung Medical University in the Solomon Islands—provide mobile medical services and actively bring in new equipment to improve the quality of local medical care. The hard work of Taiwan's medical teams is reflected in many other areas as well, including disease control, public health education, and long-term undertakings such as the training of healthcare personnel and improved healthcare management.

Addressing agriculture, President Tsai stated that because Taiwan's island allies have limited arable land and are clearly affected by climate change, agricultural technologies provided by Taiwan's technical missions are indispensable. At the Laura Farm in the Marshall Islands, Taiwan's technical mission has put circular economy concepts into practice at a "green" pig farm. Later in the day, the president and her delegation would move on to see some of the achievements of Taiwan's technical missions in the Solomon Islands. By introducing highly efficient breeding and cultivation techniques, our technical missions help Taiwan's diplomatic allies strike a proper balance between agricultural and economic concerns on the one hand, and environmental sustainability on the other. These missions also help to improve local diets.

President Tsai said that the three diplomatic allies that she visited on this trip are small in terms of land area and population, but are all suffering the consequences of global climate change. The heads of state in these three countries have made it clear that they are very concerned about sustainable development. The firm resolve they've shown, and the tremendous efforts they've made, have made a deep impression on her.

The president mentioned that education, healthcare, and agriculture are among the most important fundamental issues addressed by the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The technologies and experiences that we share with our diplomatic allies demonstrate what Taiwan is capable of, and they also help show the world that Taiwan is an indispensable member of the international community.

Over the past few days, President Tsai said, every time she opened her eyes, she was greeted by the sight of a blue ocean. She expressed confidence that, in the field of international cooperation, Taiwan's abilities and self-confidence can create a "blue ocean" of our very own within the international community. 

Following her remarks, the president responded to questions from the media on topics including cross-strait relations, national defense, indigenous peoples, and Taiwan-US relations.

Among those accompanying President Tsai at the reception were Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥), Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維), and Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒).

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