On the morning of October 25, President Tsai Ing-wen met with Marshall Islands President Hilda C. Heine and witnessed the signing of an economic cooperation agreement between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. President Tsai expressed hope that this agreement will foster even stronger economic and trade cooperation between the two countries and elevate the bilateral partnership to greater heights.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
It is a great pleasure to once again welcome my good friend President Heine to Taiwan. In March this year, I visited the Marshall Islands to attend the Pacific Women Leaders' Coalition Conference, where I received a warm reception. So I am happy to return the favor and receive President Heine in Taiwan this time.
During this visit, we will together witness the signing of an economic cooperation agreement between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This agreement will foster even stronger economic and trade cooperation between our countries and elevate our partnership to greater heights.
To bolster economic collaboration, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council has recently twice dispatched fact-finding missions to the Marshall Islands—in May and August, respectively. I firmly believe that the best way to maintain our robust friendship is to uphold the spirit of mutual assistance for mutual benefits and to jointly advance the cause of sustainable development.
In addition to our close bilateral cooperation, the Republic of China (Taiwan) also aspires to participate in international affairs alongside the Marshall Islands, so as to share our countries' experiences with the world. President Heine and I have ardently pursued this objective over the past few years.
Meanwhile, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Marshall Islands Parliament for adopting a resolution last month that expressed staunch support for the diplomatic ties between our countries and reaffirmed Taiwan's right to international participation.
I also want to thank Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade John M. Silk for speaking up for Taiwan at the General Debate of the UN General Assembly and backing our meaningful participation in UN specialized agencies.
Faced with certain powers that seek to draw countries to their side through financial enticements, attempting to undermine the stable status quo in the region, the Republic of China (Taiwan) will absolutely not submit. We remain firmly committed to the ideals of democracy and freedom, and will continue to contribute to peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.
Let me also congratulate the Marshall Islands on its election as a Member of the UN Human Rights Council. I wish the Marshall Islands every success for next month's general elections, which will certainly deepen democratic development and consolidate your country's status as a model for the entire region.
President Heine then delivered remarks, saying that it was a historic feat for the Marshall Islands to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council, and give everyone a different perspective based on their country's unique development experience. As a staunch supporter and partner of the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Marshall Islands' membership in the Human Rights Council will give us an even louder voice to speak up for Taiwan and speak out against the authoritarian forces that aim to dismantle democratic values and systems, and disrupt peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
President Heine noted that today's signing of an economic cooperation agreement between Taiwan and the Marshall Islands is a major accomplishment that will accelerate bilateral investment and trade, spurring economic activity and prosperity, and that Minister of Natural Resources and Commerce Dennis P. Momotaro was also set to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Taiwan External Trade Development Council to promote bilateral tourism.
President Heine emphasized that the bond between the Marshall Islands and the Republic of China (Taiwan) is an unbreakable one, built on our common Austronesian heritage and respect for democracy, and our steadfast commitment to upholding the regional status quo and defending freedom, justice, and the rule of law. In closing, President Heine expressed gratitude for Taiwan's contributions to the Marshall Islands in so many different areas.
After the meeting, President Tsai and President Heine witnessed Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Marshall Islands Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister John M. Silk sign an economic cooperation agreement between the two countries. This agreement includes economic cooperation in fields like trade, service industry, investment, technology, personnel exchanges, and tourism. We will also establish a joint committee to promote the management and implementation of the agreement, which will help to improve the living standards in both nations and create real income.
After the signing ceremony, the two heads of state, and the respective foreign affairs ministers, raised a toast to successful bilateral cooperation.
Also present at the event were President Heine's husband, Thomas Kijiner, Jr., Minster of Natural Resources and Commerce Momotaro, Senator Daisy Alik Momotaro, Marshall Islands Ambassador to Taiwan Neijon R. Edwards, and Taiwan's National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維).