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President Tsai holds banquet for Taiwanese expatriates in Belize
President Tsai holds banquet for Taiwanese expatriates in Belize

At noon on August 17 (Friday) local time (early morning of August 18 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a lunch banquet for Taiwanese expatriates in Belize. She spoke at length about her administration's achievements in implementing key reforms, building infrastructure, and promoting economic progress over the past two years, and also thanked the Taiwan Technical Mission in Belize for being pivotal pillars of the Taiwan-Belize partnership. President Tsai urged our expatriates to keep caring about and supporting Taiwan so that the nation can continue to shine on the global stage.

In her remarks, President Tsai said that though vast distances separate Taiwan and Belize, seeing our expatriates there made it feel as warm and familiar as coming home. She added that, as president, a key task is to lead Taiwan to go out and engage with the world. But in fact, our expatriates have long been doing exactly that, and thanks to their efforts, Taiwan's hallmark qualities of perseverance, passion and innovation have long been known among the people of Belize, for which she thanked them.

The president continued by saying that, thanks to our expatriate's businesses and local relationships, Taiwan-Belize relations are stronger than ever. Besides thanking everyone there, she also wanted to highlight a representative example: Belize's Senate Speaker Lee Mark Chang. 

Being in Belize for the first time, President Tsai shared that by day two, the warm hospitality of the Belize government and people had already impressed her tremendously. From her meeting with Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow to the dinner banquet hosted by Governor-General Colville Young, every occasion reinforced Belize's firm support for Taiwan, and mutual hope for the continued deepening of bilateral collaboration.

President Tsai said she knew that our expatriates in Belize kept close watch on developments in Taiwan. She explained that after two years of laying the groundwork and pushing to make progress, our key reforms, infrastructure projects and economic measures have already shown promising results, especially on the economic and industrial transformation fronts. Economic growth has surpassed expectations, and topped 3% for four straight quarters. Exports have also been strong. Beyond overall numbers, world-class companies like Microsoft, Micron, Cisco, Google and Amazon have all initiated new investments or expanded existing projects in Taiwan, showing that they're confident about Taiwan's future.

The president then pointed out that hard work over the past two years has put Taiwan back on the right track and ready to make major gains. She mentioned that there were followers of Yiguandao (aka I-Kuan Tao) present, and that her spokesperson was also raised in a family that followed Yiguandao. The president has also attended Yiguandao prayer ceremonies during the past two years to pray for blessings for our country, and that Taiwan society may see greater unity and security to create a better Taiwan. And she believes that everyone shares these hopes.

President Tsai also thanked our technical mission in Belize for doing such important work so far from home, supporting Belize in public health and sanitation, agriculture and animal husbandry, and information technology, and becoming a pivotal pillar in Taiwan-Belize bilateral diplomacy. The mission members deserved special praise, she said, for supporting our diplomatic efforts and bringing honor to our country. Some of the mission members were honored guests at the banquet, some were working to support the event, and others could not attend. No matter where they are, the president is willing to travel a long way, most importantly, to say, "Thank you. Really, thank you so much," on behalf of Taiwan.

President Tsai concluded her remarks by saying that Taiwan's future development needs the continued concern and support of our expatriates. As they continue their efforts in Belize, she said, we should work together to ensure that Taiwan continues to shine in every corner of the world.

Following her speech, expatriate representatives gifted President Tsai with a Mayan wooden sculpture. And after the lunch banquet started, the president and the audience enjoyed a performance by the local band Benque Marimba los Hijos del West. 

Among those attending the event were National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維); Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮); Minister of the Overseas Community Affairs Council Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興); Minister of Education Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮); Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang (王美花); Deputy Minister of the Council of Agriculture Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲); Legislators Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), Lee Chun-Yi (李俊俋), Chen Yi-Chieh (陳怡潔), and Tsai Shih-Ying (蔡適應); ROC Ambassador to Belize Charles K.Y. Liu (劉克裕); President Kico Lin (林貴香) of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce; I-Mei Foods Co. Chairman Henry Kao (高志尚); Chairman Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵) of the Overseas Investment & Development Corp.; President Huang Yu-cheng (黃育徵) of Taiwan Sugar Corporation; and Belize Senate President Lee Mark Chang.

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