On the morning of May 15, President Tsai Ing-wen met with Tuvaluan Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga and Mrs. Sopoaga. She thanked Tuvalu for staunchly supporting Taiwan's international participation, and said she hopes to work with Tuvalu to expand cooperation and participation in the Pacific region while implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In remarks, President Tsai noted that she had just visited Tuvalu in November 2017 and was delighted to host Prime Minister and Mrs. Sopoaga at the Presidential Office just a half-year later. This was her fourth meeting with the prime minister since taking office as president nearly two years ago, which surely shows that Taiwan and Tuvalu are good friends that interact often, she said.
President Tsai mentioned that during her visit to Tuvalu last year, she saw first-hand the achievements and future direction of Taiwan-Tuvalu cooperation. In education, for example, Taiwan increased the number of Taiwan Scholarships this year so six Tuvaluan students will be able to study in Taiwan, continuing to promote youth exchanges between the two countries.
Commenting on the vocational education programs that Prime Minister Sopoaga values so much, President Tsai said that Taiwan will offer vocational training courses again this year to train Tuvaluan personnel in tourism, cooking, plumbing, and electrical repair. That will help make the most of the professionalism and skills that Taiwanese have developed at home by sharing them with our diplomatic allies abroad.
The president emphasized that the people of Taiwan are willing and able to contribute more to the international community. She also said she believes that Prime Minister Sopoaga strongly agrees, and has therefore continuously spoken out on Taiwan's behalf at international venues, urging the world not to ignore Taiwan's contributions, or Taiwan's right to participate in international organizations. Tuvaluan Minister of Health Satini Tulaga Manuella, who was on hand, also sent a letter to the World Health Organization last month and proposed that Taiwan be invited to attend this year's World Health Assembly. President Tsai thanked the prime minister, and all of our friends from Tuvalu for their firm support for Taiwan.
Noting that Tuvalu joined the International Civil Aviation Organization last November and was selected to host the 2019 Pacific Islands Forum, the president offered congratulations and said that Taiwan hopes to work with Tuvalu to expand cooperation and participation in the Pacific region while implementing the SDGs.
The delegation, which also included Member of Parliament Isaia Taape and Mrs. Taape, was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Tuvalu Ambassador to the ROC Limasene Teatu and her husband, as well as Deputy Foreign Minister Francois Wu Chih-Chung (吳志中). Also attending the meeting were National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Minister of the Council of Agriculture Lin Tsung-Hsien (林聰賢), Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod (夷將．拔路兒), and legislators Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯．尤達卡) and Lin Ching-Yi (林靜儀).