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President Tsai attends state banquet hosted by Solomon Islands Governor-General Frank Kabui
President Tsai attends state banquet hosted by Solomon Islands Governor-General Frank Kabui

At 12:30 p.m. on November 2 local time (9:30 a.m. Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen attended a state banquet hosted by Solomon Islands Governor-General Frank Kabui. The president was in the Solomon Islands on a diplomatic mission dubbed "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future—2017 State Visits to Pacific Allies."

President Tsai first expressed her appreciation to Governor-General Kabui for hosting a wonderful state banquet for her and her delegation. The president mentioned that in May of 2016, Governor-Gernal and Mrs. Kabui attended her inauguration ceremony, and that they promised to meet again soon. So she was delighted to meet her old friends again.

The president said that earlier in the day, Taiwan and the Solomon Islands signed a memorandum of understanding on police cooperation, and discussed a solar energy development project with Solomon Islands National University. These advances demonstrate the tremendous diversity of cooperation and exchanges between the two countries. In her earlier speech at the National Parliament of Solomon Islands, the president mentioned that experts from Taumako Island helped our Amis people in eastern Taiwan revive their lost art of making "fayan" sailboats, so these traditional vessels can once more sail the Pacific Ocean. Our Minister Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒) of the Council of Indigenous Peoples and Legislator Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯‧尤達卡) are both Amis, and were deeply impressed by the project, President Tsai said. 

The president reiterated that such endeavors reflect the theme of this state visit, "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future." We not only put the spirit of sustainable development into practice, but also created new channels for interaction while deepening bilateral friendship.

President Tsai further stated that next year, Taiwan will expand its Global Indigenous Peoples Performing Arts Festival and International Austronesian Conference to enhance exchanges with other indigenous peoples throughout the world. She then extended a sincere invitation to our old friends in the Solomon Islands to send delegations to Taiwan next year to join the festivities.

In light of the strong friendship between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands, President Tsai expressed confidence that bilateral relations will continue to flourish through our concerted efforts. Both Taiwan and the Solomon Islands are not only home to Austronesian culture, but also free and democratic countries. The president then recalled what Governor-General Kabui once said: "The Solomon Islands and Taiwan are true wontoks [Chammoro for "family"]."

In closing, President Tsai once again thanked Governor-General Kabui for his invitation and warm hospitality. She then asked everyone to join her in a toast to the lasting friendship between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands.

Among those present at the banquet were the following senior Solomon Islands officials: Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Mrs. Sogavare; and National Parliament Speaker Ajilon Nasiu. Among those representing Taiwan 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); Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中); Legislator Lin Ching-yi (林靜儀); and ROC Ambassador to the Solomon Islands Roger Luo (羅添宏).

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