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President Tsai welcomes President Russ Joseph Kun of Nauru with military honors
President Tsai welcomes President Russ Joseph Kun of Nauru with military honors

President Tsai Ing-wen officially welcomed President Russ Joseph Kun of the Republic of Nauru and First Lady Simina Kun on the morning of November 15 with full military honors. In remarks, President Tsai expressed gratitude to President Kun and the government and people of Nauru for continuing to speak up for Taiwan on the international stage and for calling on the world to recognize Taiwan's right to participate in global affairs. The president also said she hopes that our bilateral relations continue to go from strength to strength.

The welcome ceremony began at 10:30 a.m. in the plaza fronting the Presidential Office. President Tsai and President Kun each delivered remarks after a 21-gun salute, and the playing of the two countries' national anthems. 

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

It is a great pleasure to greet President Kun and his delegation today with full military honors. On behalf of the people and government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I extend a sincere welcome to President Kun and the distinguished members of the delegation.

President Kun is leading a delegation of cabinet members to Taiwan soon after his election this past September, demonstrating his strong support for Taiwan. For this I am very grateful.

Taiwan and Nauru are both island nations. Our people are warmhearted and hospitable, and we share the common values of freedom and democracy. For many years, our countries have cooperated closely and to great effect in fields including public health, medicine, agriculture, fisheries, livestock, clean energy, and coast guard affairs. And in recent times, we have worked together to tackle many challenges, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nauru has long been a staunch friend of Taiwan in the international arena. I would like to express my gratitude to President Kun and the government and people of Nauru for continuing to speak up for Taiwan on the international stage and for calling on the world to recognize Taiwan's right to participate in global affairs. On behalf of all the people of Taiwan, I sincerely thank you for your invaluable friendship.

In closing, I once again welcome President Kun and all the members of his delegation. May our bilateral partnership continue to go from strength to strength.

President Kun then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:

At the outset, let me extend, on behalf of the first lady and on my personal behalf, my heartfelt thanks to the government and the people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for the warm welcome, generosity, and hospitality extended to my delegation since arriving in your beautiful country. 

Last month your country celebrated its 111th National Day, a momentous occasion perpetually marked in history, symbolizing the origin of the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a democratic and independent state. Since its founding, Taiwan's evolution as a democratic country has progressed rapidly continuing to date, even as democracies elsewhere struggle. The prosperity and magnificence reaped from your collective hard work are exemplary, representing the high morals and standards of its people.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) has continued to demonstrate to the rest of the world how perseverance and hard effort, commitment to education, and innovation can help us achieve our goals for a more civilized and prosperous society and nation. 

Over the past three decades, Nauru and Taiwan have cultivated a strong and enduring friendship that has been strengthened by our common obligation to uphold and respect the values of peace, freedom, democracy, and human rights. Taiwan's positive and significant contribution to our national sustainable goals is truly welcomed, as the government and the people of Nauru strive for future economic stability, sustainability, diversity, and growth. 

Taiwan has, in fact, been Nauru's steadfast ally [and] partner over the years. Today, I am pleased to reaffirm the alliance between our two countries, one that we have nurtured over the years. This relationship is firmly engraved in our history; reinforced and supported by mutual respect and admiration for each other. And over the years, our two countries have worked to strengthen this relationship further.

At the same time, we acknowledge the Austronesian cultural legacy that Taiwan and Nauru share, and look forward to promoting the lineage from people-to-people exchanges.

Today my delegation and I visit the Republic of China (Taiwan) under the theme "Sustainable Partnership: Connectivity for Prosperity." While Nauru has fared relatively better than most countries in weathering the pandemic, our society and economy have nonetheless to some extent been impacted. The theme, therefore, is not only relevant but appropriate, requiring collective effort in instigating the process of economic recovery. 

As an isolated island, Nauru acknowledges the importance of connectivity and transportation, [and] shipping and air services, including the movement of goods through air freighters, as a conduit to successfully trade and honest economic benefits. We therefore look forward to working together to strengthen institutions, improve connectivity, generate trade, and develop cross-border solutions to shared problems to promote prosperity through economic development. 

Madam President, while new in my role as president of the Republic of Nauru, I am nonetheless incredibly proud of the profound relationship and commitment our two countries share to pursue advancing a sustainable, stable, and peaceful region. Nauru will continue to stand in solidarity with the Republic of China (Taiwan), as we navigate our respective countries through prevailing challenges and emerging global uncertainties. As a democratic country with approximately 23 million people, the Republic of China (Taiwan) must not be left behind, but walk in step and side by side with all the nations of the world.

God bless the Republic of China (Taiwan) and God bless the Republic of Nauru.

Also in attendance at the welcome ceremony were Nauru Ambassador Jarden Kephas and members of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan.

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