On the afternoon of January 27 local time (morning of January 28 Taipei time), Vice President Lai Ching-te met with newly elected Honduran President Xiomara Castro for bilateral talks and to hand over a donation of disease prevention supplies. During their meeting, the vice president said he looks forward to strengthening our bilateral ties and that Taiwan will stand with Honduras to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
In remarks at their meeting, Vice President Lai conveyed President Tsai Ing-wen's congratulations to President Castro on her and her three vice presidents' historic election victory this past November, in which they garnered 51 percent of the vote from a record-high voter turnout of 68 percent, allowing President Castro to become the first woman president of Honduras. The vice president mentioned that wherever President Castro goes, everyone who sees her gets very excited, making it clear that she enjoys broad support among the Honduran people and that they have great expectations for her.
Vice President Lai went on to say that President Tsai is particularly grateful to President Castro's husband, former President Manuel Zelaya, for his commitment to upholding our bilateral alliance during his term of office and for speaking up for Taiwan on the international stage. The vice president also mentioned that our two countries have worked together on numerous projects for the benefit of our peoples, and that President Tsai has taken note of President Castro's 30-point plan for her first 100 days in office, in particular the first seven priority points that include those focused on revitalizing the economy, creating jobs, cracking down on tax evasion, and fighting corruption. President Tsai is also aware of her plans to adjust the national budget, restructure Honduras' debt, and resolve problems around the electric utility's debt, which shows that President Castro not only has a firm grasp of the current situation in Honduras, but also has a prudent plan for the future, earning her much admiration.
The vice president also expressed President Tsai's hope to build on our countries' existing foundation, support President Castro throughout her term of office, and develop an even stronger friendship between Taiwan and Honduras. The vice president mentioned that, having recognized just how hard President Castro has been working to fight the pandemic, President Tsai directed his delegation to donate disease prevention supplies to Honduras during their trip.
Vice President Lai also extended an invitation to President Castro to visit Taiwan on behalf of President Tsai. The vice president said that, as President Castro and President Tsai share the distinction of being the first woman presidents of their respective countries, if the two were to meet, it would hold historical significance for global women's empowerment.
Vice President Lai expressed his admiration for President Castro's courage and determination, as well as his endorsement of her commitment to fairness, justice, and integrity. The vice president was also very impressed with President Castro's inaugural address, which he found very moving and described as "a truly great speech." In her address, President Castro communicated her plan to use a variety of means to advance education and healthcare, while also creating job opportunities and improving public safety, in order to improve the lives of farmers, workers, women, and the poor. The vice president expressed his belief that under President Castro's leadership, Honduras can become the pride of all its citizens.
Vice President Lai said that, like Taiwan, Honduras enjoys a close relationship with the United States, and we hope that through cooperation among our three countries, we can help Honduras resolve problems so that its citizens can live and work in peace and contentment.
In her subsequent remarks, President Castro began by welcoming our delegation and thanking Taiwan for its longstanding assistance. President Castro went on to say that Honduras is facing many challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic and that her country is very grateful for Taiwan's donation of disease prevention supplies, adding that she hopes Taiwan and Honduras will continue to strengthen bilateral cooperation in all areas.
After their meeting, Vice President Lai handed over disease prevention supplies including COVID-19 rapid test kits, N95 face masks, and forehead thermometers to President Castro, thereby deepening our bilateral friendship through concrete action in the hope that Taiwan and Honduras can work together to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
Vice President Lai also presented President Castro with a transparent decorative vase made by a local Tainan artisan. The piece incorporates an intricate gilt technique that permanently captures a rose at the peak of its beauty, a symbol of unmatched longevity and splendor as well as the 80-year friendship between Taiwan and Honduras. The aesthetic effect of light passing through the work's crystalline polished glass also reflects President Castro's priority for the first 100 days of her administration: improving government transparency.
Vice President Lai then attended a banquet at the Honduran Presidential Palace together with the delegations from other countries. He was accompanied by Representative to the US Bi-khim Hsiao (蕭美琴), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋), Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Tah-ray Yui (俞大㵢), and Ambassador to Honduras Diego Wen (溫曜禎).