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Vice President Lai hosts appreciation banquet in Palau
Vice President Lai hosts appreciation banquet in Palau

On the evening of November 2 (afternoon Taipei time), Vice President Lai Ching-te hosted an appreciation banquet in Palau to thank the government and people of Palau for their warm hospitality during his delegation's visit. In remarks, the vice president expressed hope for steadfast bilateral relations and for the continued growth of the friendship between our peoples.

Vice President Lai said that the Republic of China (Taiwan) was hosting the appreciation banquet to thank President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. of Palau for his invitation, and to thank the government, Senate, House of Delegates, and people of Palau for welcoming his delegation.

Vice President Lai pointed out that during this visit he had seen the natural beauty of Palau, and that when flying in the previous day, he looked down on Palau and saw different shades of blue that he found to be indescribably beautiful, as were the emerald-green islands that dotted the blue waters. After arriving in Palau, the vice president noted its open skies, clean air, and immaculate environment, saying that calling Palau a pristine paradise is no exaggeration.

The vice president thanked President Whipps for accompanying the delegation for two days and acting as his tour guide that day on their trip to Milky Way, Ngermeaus Island, Ulong Island, and other scenic spots, where he also shared local legends with the vice president. With President Whipps as his guide, the vice president said that he saw Palau's beautiful scenery and off-the-beaten-track places, and learned about Palau's rich culture.

Vice President Lai expressed that Taiwan would do well to emulate Palau in certain areas. First among them, he said, is Palau's great dedication to environmental protection, such as their efforts to avoid polluting the environment by not using pesticides and fertilizers and to release protected species of fish when they are caught. The vice president added that under the leadership of President Whipps, Palau is actively addressing the climate change crisis and hopes to achieve 100 percent reliance on green energy by 2032.

The vice president mentioned that the Republic of China (Taiwan) looks forward to strengthening relations with Palau and engaging in closer cooperation to the benefit of both our countries. He stated that as maritime nations, Taiwan and Palau are both acutely aware of the challenges posed by climate change, and that we can work together to protect the planet.

Vice President Lai noted that Taiwan and Palau are both democratic nations that enjoy democracy, freedom, and human rights. He added that Taiwan very much hopes to work with Palau to defend universal values and maintain peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The vice president pointed out that the delegation members have all come to Palau to accomplish different tasks, and said he hopes that they can follow through with their goals after returning to Taiwan, so that they can meet the expectations of the government and people of Palau. Vice President Lai also expressed hope for steadfast Taiwan-Palau relations and the continued growth of the friendship between our peoples.

President Whipps, in remarks of his own, stated that Palau had closed its international borders for two years, and that the visit of this delegation has brought hope for a better tomorrow. He said that we understand the challenges now confronting us – which include climate change, the pandemic, and conflicts around the world – and believe in doing our part to fight the pandemic, protect the environment, and pursue sustainable development, because as members of the international community, we must look after one another. President Whipps said that he will continue cooperating with Taiwan to protect the oceans and the environment so that they can be passed down to the next generation.

After President Whipps concluded his remarks, local junior high and senior high school students sang the Mandarin pop song "Hand in Hand" (手牽手) in both Mandarin and Palauan as a gesture of friendship, creating a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Banquet attendees included Vice President J. Uduch Sengebau Senior of Palau, former Presidents Johnson Toribiong and Tommy Remengesau Jr., Senate President Hokkons Baules, House Speaker Sabino Anastacio, and traditional leaders, as well as Taiwan's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Chung-kwang (田中光), Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Shih Chung-liang (石崇良), and Ambassador to Palau Jessica C. Lee (黎倩儀).

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