On the morning of June 20, President Tsai Ing-wen received the credentials of new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Tuvalu to the Republic of China (Taiwan) Bikenibeu Paeniu, and welcomed him to his new post. Noting that Taiwan and Tuvalu have deepened cooperation in the fields of agricultural technology, talent cultivation, clean energy, and public health and medicine, President Tsai expressed hope that our two countries will continue to strengthen our ties and improve the well-being of our peoples.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
Ambassador Paeniu, it gives me great pleasure to receive your letter of credence today. On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I extend my sincerest welcome to you. Among Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Pacific, Tuvalu was the first to establish formal relations with us. We truly cherish this friendship. In 2017, I visited Tuvalu and saw firsthand the results of cooperation between our two nations. The heartfelt welcome I received throughout my visit left a deep impression on me.
Taiwan and Tuvalu are both maritime nations. Our peoples are known for their warmth and kindness. We also share the universal values of freedom and democracy. On the international stage, Tuvalu has long spoken up in support of Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and other international organizations and mechanisms. Ambassador Paeniu, please convey our gratitude to Governor-General Tofiga Vaevalu Falani and Prime Minister Kausea Natano.
In recent years, Taiwan and Tuvalu have continued to deepen cooperation in such areas as agricultural technology, talent cultivation, clean energy, and public health and medicine. We have also worked together to address the challenges of climate change and realize the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan and Tuvalu have supported each other, strengthening Tuvalu's pandemic response as well as our medical cooperation programs.
Ambassador Paeniu, you have served three times as Prime Minister of Tuvalu. You have extensive experience in government and a profound understanding of our nations' relationship. I believe that with your assistance, Taiwan and Tuvalu will come to enjoy even closer cooperation and exchanges. In closing, I welcome you once again, and I look forward to our two countries working together to further strengthen our diplomatic ties and improve the well-being of our peoples. I wish you every success in your new role here in Taiwan. Thank you.
Ambassador Paeniu then delivered remarks, expressing his pride as well as his gratitude to President Tsai for receiving his credentials and concluding the diplomatic process to formally make him ambassador of Tuvalu to the Republic of China (Taiwan). Ambassador Paeniu said that, though he did not meet face to face with President Tsai when she visited Tuvalu in 2017, he is nevertheless very thankful that she was willing to travel there, and is himself proud to come to Taiwan to assume the post of ambassador of Tuvalu.
Noting that he had witnessed many examples of development and cooperation between Taiwan and Tuvalu over the approximately 10 years during which he had served as prime minister of Tuvalu, Ambassador Paeniu said that he has continued to see the Republic of China (Taiwan) provide support and assistance to Tuvalu since his retirement from politics in 2006, and expressed gratitude for that support.
Ambassador Paeniu pointed out that, as ambassador of Tuvalu, he has a duty to convey the sincere thanks of the people and government of Tuvalu for the longstanding support provided by the people and government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), support which has continued from the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979 up through the present day. Ambassador Paeniu called our two countries true friends whose cooperation is mutually beneficial, and said that though it cannot match the financial assistance provided by Taiwan, Tuvalu can in return give its continued, highest trust and loyalty.
Ambassador Paeniu concluded his remarks by thanking President Tsai for leading the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to continue cooperation with Tuvalu, and expressed his hope that that cooperation would continue over the years to come.
Secretary-General to the President David T. Lee (李大維) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) were also in attendance.