President Tsai Ing-wen attended a reception for the 198th anniversary of the independence of Central America on the evening of September 17. She stated that China has used a variety of means to suppress our international space, but Taiwan's sincerity towards our friends remains unchanged, as does our position regarding maintaining the peaceful and prosperous status quo in the Asia-Pacific region. The determination of the Taiwanese people to participate in the international community will not change either, she said, and support from our allies empowers us to fulfill our mission to contribute to a better world.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
This year marks the 198th anniversary of the independence of Central America. It is a pleasure to be here to extend our most heartfelt congratulations to friends from our diplomatic allies, and raise a toast to our robust partnerships.
Indeed, the Republic of China (Taiwan) enjoys strong diplomatic ties with Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras. We support each other and advance together, achieving excellent outcomes in many joint endeavors. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I extend special gratitude to all of our allies for standing up for Taiwan on the world stage and supporting our international participation.
I'm sure that many of you saw yesterday's news that Taiwan lost a diplomatic ally due to China's threats and enticements. Over the past few years, China has used a variety of means to suppress our international space. They hope to see us bow to their pressure and accept "one country, two systems." As I said yesterday: not a chance.
In the face of China's suppression, Taiwan's sincerity towards our friends remains unchanged, as does our position regarding maintaining the peaceful and prosperous status quo in the Asia-Pacific region. The determination of the Taiwanese people to participate in the international community will not change either.
The annual UN General Assembly commences today. Very recently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a film conveying the aspiration of the Taiwanese people to participate in the UN system. The film shows our people working to enhance healthcare, agriculture and vocational training in our diplomatic allies. I trust that friends from our allies are familiar with these scenes, for they reflect our collective efforts.
In the past few years, I have had the opportunity to visit Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras, and witness firsthand the accomplishments of our collaboration.
Feedback to this film has been tremendous. The fact that people are so deeply moved by it is the result of the joint endeavors by and exchanges between Taiwan and our diplomatic allies. I thank all of our allies for their support.
Taiwan's steadfast diplomacy focuses on long-term mutual assistance for mutual benefits. We are sincere and do not make flashy, hollow promises. If our friends need us and we are capable of helping, we will do everything in our power as a true friend should, and work seamlessly with them.
Coffee grown by our three Central American allies has become very popular in Taiwan, and each has its own unique flavors. Beef, seafood and fruit imports from the region are also widely loved among our people. We look forward to welcoming even more high-quality items from the region, so that Taiwan can become a springboard for Central American products in Asia.
In coordination with businesses, we will continue to form professional teams to expand cooperation with our Central American allies in opening up markets for their products.
Aside from economic and trade exchanges, we have noticed that more and more Taiwanese youth are traveling to Central America for tourism and to learn Spanish.
We are working to further enhance both official and private sector exchanges. In the face of global challenges such as climate change, Taiwan is committed to working alongside its allies to jointly realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Taiwan strives to contribute to a better world. Support from our allies empowers us to further fulfill this mission. I hope that our diplomatic allies will continue to speak up for Taiwan, so that together, we can make the world a better place and touch even more people.
In closing, please allow me to propose a toast: to the good health and wellbeing of the Presidents of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras; to the continued prosperity of your beautiful countries; and to our enduring friendship! Thank you!
Among those attending the event were National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Control Yuan President Chang Po-ya (張博雅), Nicaragua Ambassador to Taiwan William Manuel Tapia Alemán, Guatemalan Ambassador to Taiwan Willy Alberto Gómez Tirado, and Honduran Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Juan Carlos Barahona Rodríguez.