On the morning of November 10, President Tsai Ing-wen welcomed Saint Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and Mrs. Chastanet with military honors, and then met with the prime minister for talks. During the meeting, she acknowledged the warm friendship between Taiwan and Saint Lucia, and expressed hope that the two countries will continue to expand exchanges to more areas, support each other internationally, and mutually offer staunch support.
The military honors ceremony was held at 10:30 a.m. at the plaza in front of the Presidential Office Building. After a 19-gun salute, the playing of the two countries' national anthems and a military review, President Tsai and Prime Minister Chastanet each delivered remarks.
In her remarks, President Tsai, speaking on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan, first welcomed the prime minister, his wife, and the visiting delegation. She went on to say that Saint Lucia is an important diplomatic ally in the Caribbean, and we are in close cooperation in many areas. Since the restoration of formal diplomatic ties in April 2007, all the prime ministers of Saint Lucia have visited Taiwan.
The president then said this was the second time Prime Minister Chastanet led a delegation to Taiwan since taking office in June 2016, which shows the warm friendship between the two countries. She expressed confidence that this trip would afford the delegation an even deeper understanding of Taiwan, and that they would discover even more opportunities for bilateral cooperation. This trip will definitely bring the two countries even closer, and increase mutual cooperation, she said.
President Tsai suggested that, although Taiwan and Saint Lucia are far apart geographically, they nevertheless share the universal values of democracy, freedom, and human rights. She expressed hope that the two sides would continue to expand exchanges to even more areas, support each other internationally, and mutually offer staunch support.
Prime Minister Chastanet then delivered remarks, saying that he appreciated the enthusiastic hospitality shown to his delegation by the Taiwan government, and was pleased to meet with President Tsai personally and discuss bilateral cooperation.
Prime Minister Chastanet pointed out that, since formal diplomatic ties were reestablished in 2007, the bilateral relationship has continued to grow. In particular, in June 2015, Saint Lucia established its first representative office in Asia, right here in Taipei. That was a big step forward for Saint Lucia, and demonstrated the staunch friendship between the two countries, he said.
Commenting on the international situation, Prime Minister Chastanet noted that Saint Lucia and Taiwan both face many challenges. However, Taiwan has transcended old-fashioned thinking, adopted many innovative policies, and established positive cooperative relations with a variety of countries. In the areas of technology development, innovation, agriculture, science and technology, and education, Taiwan has provided excellent models for Saint Lucia.
Prime Minister Chastanet also stated that both Taiwan and Saint Lucia look forward to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and contributing to the international community. He expressed hope that the two sides would continue to cooperate internationally, and that amidst rapidly changing international conditions, would maintain close cooperation and exchanges to benefit the citizens of both countries and spur further development.
Later, during the meeting between President Tsai and Prime Minister Chastanet, President Tsai stated that the prime minister's party, the United Workers Party, has always had a deep friendship with Taiwan. The party led the way in reestablishing formal diplomatic ties in 2007, and Prime Minister Chastanet, since taking office last year, has continued to enhance the partnership.
The president further pointed out that this September, Prime Minister Chastanet openly spoke out in support of Taiwan at the UN General Assembly. This visit to Taiwan, with the Prime Minister personally leading the delegation, demonstrates even more clearly Saint Lucia's firm support for its diplomatic ties with Taiwan. She also expressed sincere gratitude, on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan, for this precious friendship.
President Tsai said that for many years now, Taiwan and Saint Lucia have worked hand-in-hand, and have accomplished much in areas like agriculture, fisheries, information and communications technology, public health, and education. She added that this year there have been many breakthroughs in cooperation, including, for the first time, conclusion of an agreement on mutual assistance in judicial and financial matters to combat financial crimes. Also, in the second half of the year, the first-ever case of cooperative investment by firms in Taiwan and Saint Lucia was formally launched, bringing more job opportunities to Saint Lucia. The president expressed confidence that, with the joint efforts of both countries, the relationship between Taiwan and Saint Lucia will continue to see breakthroughs and deeper cooperation, facilitating sustainable development of the diplomatic friendship.
President Tsai noted that after Prime Minister Chastanet concludes his visit to Taiwan, his next stop will be Bonn, Germany, where he will participate in the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She expressed hope that the prime minister would continue to speak out on behalf of Taiwan and support Taiwan's participation in international organizations, so that Taiwan can make even more contributions to the international community.
Finally, President Tsai asked Prime Minister Chastanet to convey sincere greetings from Taiwan to Governor-General Dame Pearlette Louisy, and wished the delegation a smooth and successful trip.