On the morning of December 13, President Tsai Ing-wen met with Republic of Nauru President Lionel Aingimea and First Lady Aingimea and witnessed the signing of a bilateral aviation services agreement. President Tsai expressed hope that our diplomatic ties will continue to progress through more collaborative projects.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
The Republic of China (Taiwan) and Nauru are both members of the Pacific family. As President Aingimea has stated, our two countries are like family. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the government of Nauru for its friendship and staunch support for Taiwan in the international arena over the years.
At the UN General Debate and the recently concluded 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 25), President Aingimea called upon the world to embrace Taiwan and recognize the rights of the Taiwanese people. Today, I want to especially thank President Aingimea for his support.
In addition, at these key international events, President Aingimea publicly lauded the contributions that Taiwan has made towards global sustainable development. And indeed, the manner in which ocean countries should pursue sustainable development in the face of the challenges brought by climate change is of great concern for both Taiwan and Nauru.
Taiwan is willing and able to collaborate with its partners in the international community and strive to make the world a better place in the spirit of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Nauru is an indispensable partner to Taiwan. We hope to strengthen exchanges and promote mutually beneficial, win-win development between our countries.
In addition to moving forward with our current collaborative projects, Taiwan International Ports Corporation will be providing management and personnel training opportunities to Nauru once its new port is completed. Moreover, just last month, Nauru Airlines sent representatives to Taiwan to discuss airline cooperation, such as extending flight routes to Taipei. Hopefully, in the near future, we can establish a flight route connecting our two countries in order to further boost people-to-people exchanges and bring our countries even closer together.
Over the years, our two countries have worked to further deepen our cordial relations, and there are a growing number of "friends of Taiwan" in Nauru. Here with us today, Nauru's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Appi is one such person, having once studied at National Pingtung University of Science and Technology. We very much look forward to continuing to enhance our bilateral relations through increased collaboration in the future.
In his remarks that followed, President Aingimea stated that Nauru attaches great importance to its relationship with Taiwan, and as he repeatedly said, Taiwan and Nauru are family. Taiwan and Nauru share strong ties, in addition to the assistance Taiwan has provided to Nauru. He also thanked the Taiwanese government for its scholarship programs for Nauru's young people and the affection they have given them for stinky tofu. These kind of people-to-people exchanges have brought Taiwan and Nauru closer together.
President Aingimea pointed out that for many years, Taiwan has strongly supported Nauru's infrastructure and economic development. When Nauru experienced a financial crisis in the 1990s, it was Taiwan that helped revive the operation of Nauru Airlines. He stated that we can see who our true friends are during difficult times, for when you are down it is those friends who help you up, an indication of the relationship Taiwan and Nauru have established over the years.
President Aingimea then said that he hopes to build on our existing foundation to continue strengthening bilateral relation, and looks forward to a brighter future through Taiwan's continued assistance in Nauru's development through infrastructure, ports, and scholarships.
After the meeting, President Tsai witnessed the signing of an aviation services agreement between the two countries by President Aingimea and Taiwan's Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍). This agreement will allow the airlines of both sides to fly between Taiwan and Nauru in the future. In addition to helping expand bilateral international routes, this agreement will also help us build an airline network with our Pacific allies, further strengthening economic and cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Nauru.
After the signing ceremony, the two heads of state, Taiwan's Foreign and Transportation Ministers, and the respective Ambassadors, raised their glasses in a toast to successful bilateral cooperation.
Also present at the event were Minister for Ronphos and Nauru Rehabilitation Corporation Reagan Winson Aliklik and Mrs. Aliklik, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Asterio Appi and Mrs. Appi. The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Nauru Ambassador to Taiwan Jarden Kephas. Also attending the meeting were Vice President Chien Chen-jen and National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維).