President Tsai Ing-wen met with Jeremiah Manele, Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade of the Solomon Islands, and Mrs. Manele on the morning of September 9. The president stated that "Taiwan is a responsible member of the international community and a partner willing to make contributions" is more than just a slogan, it is what we are putting into practice every day. In the future, she said, Taiwan will continue to work with the Solomon Islands to strengthen our bilateral relations, and she looked forward to their continued strong support in the international arena.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet with you at the Office of the President. Minister Manele and Permanent Secretary Collin David Beck have both visited Taiwan before, but this is Minister Manele's first visit as Foreign Minister. I want to offer both of our old friends a warm welcome.
This year, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Solomon Islands are celebrating 36 years of diplomatic relations, and your country has always been a staunch friend to Taiwan in the international community. You have also shown strong support for Taiwan at the UN General Assembly, and in its specialized agencies and meetings.
As I often say, good friends should get together often, and Taiwan and the Solomon Islands are a perfect example of this spirit. This past August, Speaker Patteson Oti of the Solomon Islands National Parliament led a delegation to Taiwan to take part in the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians' Union General Assembly. Later that same month, our own Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) attended the Pacific Islands Forum, where he signed a bilateral mutual visa waiver agreement with Minister Manele, witnessed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
As part of this year's activities promoting Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs filmed a video that told the story of Paul Bosawai Popora, a doctor who studied in Taiwan before returning to the Solomon Islands to practice medicine. Dr. Popora said that it all started in Taiwan when he experienced the quality of Taiwan's healthcare system and services. He told himself that when he returned home, he would open a clinic in rural areas.
During my trip to the Solomon Islands in 2017, I visited the Taiwan Health Center at the Solomon Islands National Referral Hospital, where I received a briefing from our medical mission. Their work made one thing very clear to me: Taiwan is a responsible member of the international community and a partner willing to make contributions. This is more than just a slogan, it is what we are putting into practice every day.
Taiwan and the Solomon Islands share values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the fight against climate change, and we are mutually supportive partners. Over the past three years, we have continued to cooperate across agriculture, healthcare, education, and human resources development, reaching new milestones in cooperation together.