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President Tsai hosts banquet to thank Solomon Islands government and people
President Tsai hosts banquet to thank Solomon Islands government and people

At 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 2 local time (4:00 p.m. Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a banquet to express her gratitude for the kind hospitality extended to her delegation by Solomon Islands Governor-General Frank Kabui and Mrs. Kabui, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and Mrs. Sogavare, other government officials, and the people of the Solomon Islands. The president was in the Solomon Islands as part of her diplomatic mission dubbed "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future—2017 State Visits to Pacific Allies."

In remarks, President Tsai said she was deeply impressed by the warmth and enthusiasm of the Solomon Islanders, and that her trip to visit Taiwan's Pacific allies, shared and witnessed by so many, was drawing to a close. She then expressed her sincere gratitude on behalf of the people of Taiwan. The president also emphasized that during this trip, Taiwan and the Solomon Islands verified the achievements of many cooperative projects. This is "seeing and experiencing things first-hand," one tenet of steadfast diplomacy. She then expressed confidence that these projects have strengthened the friendship between Taiwan and the Solomon Islands.

President Tsai pointed out that during the current trip, in addition to the great warmth of the people of the Solomon Islands, she was also impressed by Taiwan's technical and medical missions. For example, she said, a Taiwanese medical mission once went to great lengths and called on international resources to treat a child afflicted with severe hydrocephalus, which was very touching. Elsewhere, the president was proud that Taiwan's technical mission helped Kaotave Vocational School in Guadalcanal Province improve student nutrition by implementing a food self-sufficiency program, and cooperated with the Solomon Islands to develop SOLROC breeder pigs.

Noting that the members of Taiwan's medical and technical missions are respected experts in their fields, President Tsai stated that they have chosen to go to our allied countries and make the most of their expertise, helping Taiwan engage with the international community while making important contributions. As an example, the president mentioned the head of the technical mission, Mr. Shiue Sheuan-Pyng (薛烜坪), whose children have accompanied him to the Solomon Islands and are attending school there. Through their efforts, Mr. Shiue and other mission members have made Taiwan proud. The president expressed confidence that their expertise and enthusiasm have won the friendship and respect of the people of the Solomon Islands, and also helped solidify the friendship between the two countries. "I thank you all for the contributions you make to Taiwan's diplomacy out on the front lines," said President Tsai.

The president pointed out that our ongoing and future projects prove that Taiwan is an indispensable member of the international community. We are capable of helping our friends in a big way, and are obligated to do so, she said.

President Tsai stressed that if Taiwan is to engage with the rest of the world, it will need the support of friends, and the government and people will have to work hand-in-hand. Our embassy as well as our technical and medical missions all represent Taiwan. Everything they do figures into the image that the people of the Solomon Islands have of Taiwan. "You have our government's support," said the president, "keep up the good work!"

President Tsai again thanked Governor-General Kabui, Prime Minister Sogavare, and all the other "old friends of Taiwan" at the banquet for their staunch support of Taiwan over the years, and for taking a principled stand at international venues in defense of Taiwan's right to participate in international organizations. Looking to the future, she said, Taiwan will continue working with the Solomon Islands to achieve sustainable global development.

Lastly, President Tsai asked everyone to join her in a toast to the lasting friendship between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Solomon Islands. "Thank you for everything you've done for Taiwan," she said.

Among those on hand at the banquet 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); Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒); Legislators Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯.尤達卡) and Lin Ching-Yi (林靜儀); ROC Ambassador to the Solomon Islands Roger Luo (羅添宏); and Speaker of the Solomon Islands Parliament Ajilon Nasiu and Mrs. Nasiu.

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