President Tsai Ing-wen inspected the Taiwan Technical Mission in Palau as part of her Oceans of Democracy state visits on the morning of March 22 local time (morning of March 22 Taipei time). She praised the Technical Mission's dedication to the partnership between Taiwan and Palau, saying that their top-notch agricultural technologies are showing the world Taiwan's strengths, and they are the pride of Taiwan.
In remarks, the president stated that on every trip abroad, she makes a point of visiting our Technical Missions. The point of these visits is not to hear progress reports, but to encourage our technicians working on the frontlines of diplomacy. Their work far from home has brought Taiwan’s technologies to our allies, making a number of good friends in the process. Their work and achievements are a testament to Taiwan’s friendship, she said.
The president pointed out that our Technical Mission in Palau predates our embassy, as the Mission arrived in Palau in 1985. The stable friendship Taiwan and Palau enjoy today is in no small part due to their endeavors.
President Tsai mentioned that the team is using technical cooperation to overcome land limitations, contributing greatly to food security and more varied diets here. This year, following up on the success they have had with papayas and dragon fruit, they are introducing tropical fruits like mango, wax apple, and lychee, and she expressed hope that they will thrive in Palau.
The president said that Palau is a globally renowned tourism destination with many stellar hotels. She expressed hope that through their work, Taiwan’s fruits will become staples in hotels throughout Palau. We hope that in addition to giving the people of Palau the chance to enjoy it, travelers from all over the world will be able to enjoy delicious fruit that came from Taiwan and is produced in Palau.
In closing, the president said that sharing our top-notch agricultural technologies is the best way for us to show the world Taiwan's strengths. She again thanked the Technical Mission members for all their hard work, and said that they are the pride of Taiwan.
President Tsai then asked Taiwan Technical Mission in Palau Chief Pang-chi Yang (楊邦棋) to introduce each of the mission members individually, and each member shared their experiences and thoughts on working in Palau. The president then took a walking tour of the fruit and vegetable garden, where she heard reports in an area cultivating dragonfruit, as well as areas growing guava, calamondin oranges, and wax apples from Taiwan, and she personally picked and tasted a cantaloupe.
The president then was accompanied by Minister of State Faustina Rehuher-Marugg to the Palau Old Age Center, where she wove a traditional Palauan placemat using pandan leaves under the guidance of a professional female weaver. She also accepted a handbag woven from pandan leaves as a gift.
In response to media questions regarding statements made by the WHO spokesperson stating that without a "cross-strait understanding" Taiwan would not receive an entrance ticket to the WHA, the president stated that health is both a human right and a universal value. Beijing has no reason to exclude Taiwan from the WHO and WHA, or the global health system as a whole. The 23 million people of Taiwan's right to health cannot be neglected, nor should it be erased. Taiwan's absence is truly a loss to the entire international health system. Taiwan can do more, and can contribute more. Our medical collaborations with our allies have all produced meaningful, substantive results, and we will continue to fight to join the WHA and WHO.
In response to media questions regarding China's opposition to the delegation's transit stop in Hawaii, President Tsai stated that Beijing opposes everything, saying, "When you go see a friend, do you ask your neighbor's permission first?"
Also in attendance were Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥), Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung (陳時中), Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒), and ROC Ambassador to Palau Wallace M.G. Chow (周民淦).