President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Speaker of the Marshall Islands Nitijela (Parliament) Kenneth A. Kedi on the afternoon of March 4. The president stated that Taiwan and the Marshall Islands will continue building an even closer partnership to bring about further results in all areas of cooperation.
President Tsai first welcomed Speaker Kedi and his wife back to Taiwan once again. The president recalled that in October 2017 she made a state visit to the Marshall Islands and was invited to give a speech in the Nitijela. At the time, she invited Speaker Kedi to make a reciprocal visit to Taiwan, and was delighted to meet with him once again to discuss things in person.
The president mentioned that one year ago she was accompanied by Speaker Kedi to address the Nitijela and wrote the Chinese phrase "Maritime nations, sustainable democracy" in the guestbook. This is the common link between Taiwan and the Marshall Islands, and since then, both have continued to move toward that goal, she said.
On behalf of the Taiwanese people, President Tsai thanked Speaker Kedi for his staunch support and assistance. On the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties last year, the Nitijela unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming these ties, and adopted a bilateral Framework on Strategic Cooperation and Partnership. These legislative actions affirm the strong diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Just last month, the president noted, with Speaker Kedi's unwavering support, the Nitijela once again unanimously approved a resolution supporting Taiwan, commending democratic Taiwan, praising Taiwan as a true ally of the Marshall Islands, and recognizing our contribution to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. This shows that Taiwan has earned recognition for its accomplishments in promoting long-term and diversified cooperation projects in the Marshall Islands, she said.
President Tsai also said that due to political factors, Taiwan was unable to participate in the World Health Organization meeting on influenza virus vaccines recently held in Beijing. This was a flagrant violation of Taiwanese citizens' right to health and created a gap in the global disease prevention network, she said, and we have already lodged a strong protest.
The president emphasized that health issues and epidemic prevention efforts should transcend national borders, and should not be influenced by the political agenda of any particular country. Blocking Taiwan's participation not only harms Taiwan, but also harms global society's collective efforts to prevent epidemics. But as a responsible member of the global community, she said, Taiwan will continue to pursue participation in the relevant organizations and activities. This will ensure our citizens' right to health and allow us to make even greater contributions to the world.
The president also looks forward to even stronger support from the Marshall Islands. She stated that Taiwan and the Marshall Islands have weathered difficult times to gain the democracy and freedom that both countries enjoy today. It is our commitment to democracy, freedom and human rights, she said, that allows us to ensure peace and democracy in our peoples' daily lives.
President Tsai hopes that based on these shared values, Taiwan and the Marshall Islands will build an ever closer partnership in fields like education, culture, healthcare and infrastructure to produce further results in all areas of cooperation.
The president mentioned that the Marshall Islands parliamentary elections, held once every four years, will be in mid-November this year. She then offered best wishes to Speaker Kedi in his bid for re-election, so that he can continue to promote his political vision and bring greater well-being to the Marshallese people. She also wished her guests a smooth and successful stay.
Guests also included Marshall Islands Ambassador to the ROC Neijon Rema Edwards.