The Office of the President held a press conference on the morning of December 19 to announce that Vice President Chen Chien-jen will lead a delegation to Palau from December 28-30 to attend joint celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Taiwan-Palau diplomatic relations. The planned itinerary was presented by Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉).
Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu stated that Taiwan and Palau established formal diplomatic relations on December 29, 1999, making this year the 20th anniversary of our official ties. During those two decades, Palau has been one of our most important allies in the Pacific region, he said, and a long-term supporter of our participation in international organizations. Taiwan and Palau have also maintained close cooperation in many areas including medicine, agriculture, and aviation.
To demonstrate just how important Taiwan-Palau relations are to us, and continue to deepen friendly bilateral ties, President Tsai Ing-wen has appointed Vice President Chen Chien-jen as her special envoy. At Palau's invitation, he will lead a delegation to attend a co-hosted celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic ties.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu then said that during this trip, Vice President Chen's itinerary includes a Taiwan-Palau friendship night market, a Friendship Cup fishing competition, and a banquet celebrating the 20th anniversary of our diplomatic relations. The delegation will also make on-site visits to see the achievements of Taiwan's developmental assistance projects in Palau in animal husbandry, agriculture, and other areas.
The Deputy Foreign Minister also explained that during this visit, Vice President Chen will meet with Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. to exchange views on issues of mutual concern, and also conduct exchanges with high-level Palauan officials including Vice President Raynold Oilouch and Minister of State Faustina Rehuher-Marugg. On behalf of the Taiwan government, Vice President Chen will also offer encouragement to front-line diplomatic personnel and technical mission staff stationed in Palau, as well as Taiwanese expatriates, and thank them all for their efforts and contributions to Taiwan diplomacy.
Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu also addressed the schedule for the three-day, two-night trip, stating that the delegation will depart on the afternoon of December 28 (Saturday), arrive in Palau that same day, and then return to Taiwan on the evening of December 30 (Monday). The vice president's trip schedule has been arranged, he said, based on the principles of security, dignity, convenience, and comfort.
To highlight how Austronesian culture connects Taiwan and our Pacific allies, Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu said the Nibun Chorus has been invited to Palau to perform during this trip. The current chorus, which includes gold medal winners at the World Choir Games in South Africa last year along with other alumni from Kaohsiung Municipal Baolai Junior High School, will promote the beautiful culture and music of Taiwan's indigenous peoples.
The Deputy Minister emphasized that promoting high-level reciprocal visits is one of Taiwan's most important diplomatic tasks, and there have been many such visits involving high-level Taiwanese and Palauan officials. President Tsai made Palau the first stop on her Oceans of Democracy state visits last March, and last July, Palau Vice President Oilouch visited Taiwan. In August, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) attended the funeral of former Palau President Tommy Remengesau Sr. as a special envoy. Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒) also served as a special envoy to attend the 25th anniversary ceremony celebrating Palau's independence. These high-level visits reflect the close relationship between Taiwan and Palau.
Deputy Minister Hsu closed by saying that the 20th anniversary of official Taiwan-Palau diplomatic ties is an important milestone. Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to cooperate with the relevant organizations and the government of Palau to carefully plan this trip, as we celebrate this momentous event in our diplomatic friendship together, and Taiwan citizens can witness our staunch friendship and deep bilateral ties with our Pacific allies as well as our substantive cooperative achievements.