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President Tsai explains trip objectives before departing for Paraguay and Belize
President Tsai explains trip objectives before departing for Paraguay and Belize

On the afternoon of August 12, President Tsai Ing-wen departed on a nine-day, eight-night state visit to Taiwan's Latin American diplomatic allies Paraguay and Belize. In remarks before boarding the plane, the president explained that this trip is designed to lead Taiwan to engage with the world, expand our diplomatic space, and thank our diplomatic allies for their support. We will continue to strengthen Taiwan, uphold the values of freedom and democracy, do more for the international community, and highlight Taiwanese friendship toward the world, she said.

The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:

We are about to depart on state visits to our diplomatic allies Paraguay and Belize.

The theme of this trip is "A Journey of Joint Celebration," because we will represent the Republic of China and the people of Taiwan at the inauguration ceremonies for Paraguayan President-elect Mario Abdo Benítez, and express our congratulations to the people of Paraguay.

During this trip we will also go to Belize to meet with government leaders, and show our appreciation and support to fellow Taiwanese who have left their homes far behind and are working to further our diplomatic efforts.

As president, it's my responsibility to lead Taiwan to engage with the world, and expand our diplomatic space. We engage with the world so that the whole world can see Taiwan, and see our nation's firm commitment to freedom and democracy. As long as we remain firm, no one can obliterate Taiwan's existence.

Through this trip, we also hope to communicate three important messages to the world.

First, we want to thank our diplomatic allies for supporting Taiwan.

On this trip, we're not only congratulating Paraguay, but also thanking both of our diplomatic allies for their long-standing support for Taiwan's international participation.

Secretary-General to the President Chen Chu (陳菊) is beginning this trip with me, and we'll see some old friends during stopovers in the United States. While I continue on to Paraguay, Secretary-General Chen will stay in the United States to interact with the expatriate community.

I've asked Secretary-General Chen to use this opportunity to thank people in the United States from various quarters supporting Taiwan, especially the many Taiwanese-Americans who have long supported Taiwan, and facilitated investment in Taiwan by international corporations. They have contributed a lot to Taiwan's economic development.

Second, we are determined to engage with the world and expand Taiwan's diplomatic space.

Taiwan's diplomatic position is difficult, but Taiwanese have never backed down in the face of difficulty. Every setback becomes the momentum driving the next breakthrough. As an island nation, it's our nature to engage with the world. Overcoming difficulties is the essence of the Taiwanese spirit.

So, no amount of pressure can squelch the Taiwanese people's aspiration to engage with the international community.

During this trip, we will continue in the spirit of "steadfast diplomacy based on mutual assistance for mutual benefits" to consolidate our friendships with diplomatic allies. At the same time, we want to give the United States special thanks for their transit arrangements during this trip, providing all due convenience and courtesies. At our transit stops, I will express our gratitude to some of our friends.

And third, we will continue to strengthen Taiwan and uphold the values of freedom and democracy.

Strengthening Taiwan is a policy direction that will not change. During this trip, I want to ask my administrative team to continue pushing our agenda, and keep the nation moving steadily forward. I also want our Ministry of National Defense and members of the military to remain on high alert to safeguard national security. I'm very confident entrusting national security to our armed forces.

Each overseas trip, we make every effort to tell the world that Taiwan's freedom and democracy are precious, and that Taiwan is more than willing to devote even greater efforts to the world in terms of regional peace and stability. This is how Taiwan shows its friendship to the world.

We want to communicate an important message to the world: To defend Taiwan is to defend the values of freedom and democracy.

So now, we're off! We're going out into the world and will give our all for diplomacy. Let's go Taiwan!

Among those at the airport to see President Tsai off were Deputy Secretary-General to the President Liu Chien-sin (劉建忻), National Security Bureau Director-General Peng Sheng-Chu (彭勝竹), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General York Chen (陳文政), Deputy Foreign Minister Kelly Wu-Chiao Hsieh (謝武樵), Overseas Community Affairs Council Deputy Minister Kao Chien-Chih (高建智), Nicaraguan Ambassador to the ROC William Manuel Tapia Alemán (head of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan), and the representatives of Paraguay and Belize.

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