President Tsai Ing-wen hosted an appreciation banquet thanking the Palauan government and people for their warm hospitality on the evening of March 23 local time, as part of her Oceans of Democracy state visit.
At the start of the banquet, President Tsai and all the guests present enjoyed a performance by Palauan students. President Tsai then signed the Palau Pledge with First Lady Debbie Remengesau as witness, symbolizing her commitment and determination to help protect Palau's environment.
In remarks, President Tsai stated that as her state visit to Palau came to a close, she was honored to express her delegation's sincere gratitude to friends from all sectors of Palau at this evening's banquet. She first thanked President Remengesau and our Palauan friends for their warm welcome and refined hospitality.
The president mentioned that this morning, President Remengesau personally piloted the boat on their tour of Palau's famous Nikko Bay and Dolphin Bay, a tour that showed her why "Pearl of the Pacific" is indeed an apt way to describe Palau.
The president pointed out that the Palauan government has utilized pioneering policies to simultaneously protect its oceans and encourage the development of the tourism industry, an accomplishment she found especially touching. By signing the Palau Pledge, President Tsai expressed her willingness to respect her duties as a visitor and join efforts to protect Palau's environment.
The president emphasized that Palau's vision and sincerity in promoting sustainable development are truly valuable lessons for Taiwan, and this was the most rewarding aspect of the trip for her. She would be sharing what she learned in Palau with the Tourism Bureau upon her return to Taiwan, and she would call upon both the Tourism Bureau and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide more information and incentives, and engage in more exchange activities, so that more Taiwanese people can come to Palau and experience what it feels like to truly become one with nature, bringing their experiences back to Taiwan upon their return.
President Tsai also thanked Palau's traditional leaders for offering great friendship and support on behalf of Palauan society. The past few days' activities gave her a deeper appreciation of the friendship among Austronesian peoples, built not just on official exchanges, but also on natural people-to-people connections that are often as close as family ties.
The president stated that although the Pacific Islands may seem scattered and tiny from a land-based perspective, from the Austronesian people's unique maritime perspective, we share the world's largest ocean, giving us broader perspectives and allowing us to make important contributions to the world.
The president also pointed out that just a few days ago, Taiwan passed a six-year work plan for the Austronesian Forum. We are opening a new chapter of more stable multilateral cooperation with our brothers and sisters in the Pacific, she said, including cultural preservation, talent cultivation, and the development of indigenous industries.
The president stated that outside of introducing our overarching goals, she also wanted to introduce the delectable cuisine being served at the banquet. Most of the dishes were provided by the Palau Royal Resort, but the Taiwanese noodles with cassava and smoked tuna and the taro and coconut sugar cheesecake were made by students from the Palau Community College who were trained by the head chef in Taiwan's Taoyuan Orchard Park Hotel.
She also stated that each time she makes state visits, diplomatic allies consistently give the best reviews to short-term vocational training programs, and today was a perfect opportunity to show everyone the results of our "steadfast diplomacy."
The president also recommended the delicious fruits grown by the Taiwan Technical Mission to the people of Palau. She asked that everyone give the chefs and our friends in the Technical Mission a warm round of applause for all the dishes on the table tonight.
Finally, she once again thanked all of our good friends in Palau for their warm hospitality, and asked everyone to raise a toast to the lasting friendship between our governments and peoples.
In his remarks that followed, President Remengesau first thanked President Tsai for leading a delegation to Palau. Although her stay in Palau was short, he was sure that she had seen the results and progress of a number of cooperative projects between Taiwan and Palau in areas such as agriculture and healthcare. President Remengesau thanked Taiwan for the technical assistance it provides to Palau, and expressed confidence that Taiwan and Palau would continue to enjoy lasting friendship and strong relations.
Banquet guests enjoyed performances from Palauan musical groups as well as an indigenous Taiwanese dance performance.
Also in attendance were Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr., Vice President Raynold Oilouch, Former President Thomas Remengesau Sr., Former President Johnson Toribiong, Paramount High Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons, Paramount High Chief Reklai Raphael Ngirmang, traditional leaders, US Ambassador to Palau Amy J. Hyatt, Palauan Ambassador to Taiwan Dilmei Louisa Olkeriil, Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥), and Ambassador to Palau Wallace M.G. Chow (周民淦).