On the afternoon of March 21, the Presidential Office held a press conference to announce that President Tsai Ing-wen will lead a delegation from March 29 to April 7 to visit Belize and the Republic of Guatemala, both Latin American diplomatic allies of Taiwan. On this trip, President Tsai hopes to achieve two major goals: to strengthen democracy and foster mutual prosperity and development. Those goals entail deepening exchanges and cooperation with our democratic partners, standing together to safeguard international peace and stability, continuing to promote joint projects for mutual assistance and prosperity, and jointly pursuing greater well-being, development, and economic progress.
Presidential Office Spokesperson Olivia Lin (林聿禪) explained that due to the global pandemic, President Tsai has not made a diplomatic trip since visiting Taiwan's Caribbean allies over three years ago in 2019, and added that in September of last year Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei extended an invitation to President Tsai to visit Guatemala. In public venues and international media interviews, President Giammattei has repeatedly taken a strong stance in support of Taiwan-Guatemala ties, and the achievements of close bilateral cooperation are well recognized by the people of Guatemala from all walks of life.
Spokesperson Lin also said that for many years, Belize has staunchly supported Taiwan's meaningful participation in international organizations, and together, we have built close partnerships in areas including infrastructure, medicine and public health, and agricultural technology. Belizean Prime Minister John Briceño and his wife, Mrs. Rossana Briceño, also visited Taiwan in March last year. At our invitation, Mrs. Briceño, as Belize's Special Envoy for the Development of Families and Children, came to Taiwan again in February this year to attend the Empower Women! Empower LAC! Forum.
Spokesperson Lin said that President Tsai will undertake an official diplomatic visit in response to numerous invitations, and to show the importance we place on our allies while continuing to deepen cooperation and development among democratic partners. The 10-day trip will begin on March 29; there will be a transit stop in New York City that same day; and then the delegation will proceed to visit Taiwan allies Guatemala and Belize. On the return leg of the trip, the delegation will make a transit stop in Los Angeles before returning to Taiwan on April 7.
Spokesperson Lin also noted that during this trip, President Tsai hopes to achieve two major goals: to strengthen democracy and foster mutual prosperity and development. Those goals entail deepening exchanges and cooperation with democratic partners to safeguard international peace and stability, and continuing to promote collaborative projects for mutual assistance and prosperity, with the aim of promoting greater well-being, development, and economic progress.
Over the past few years, Spokesperson Lin said, from helping address the global pandemic to providing aid for Ukraine and the earthquake in Türkiye, Taiwan has always stood together with the international community as a force for good. In addition to thanking partners who uphold the values of democracy and freedom and continue to support Taiwan, this trip will promote broader cooperation in agricultural technology, medicine and public health, women's empowerment, the digital economy, and supply chain security. In the future, Taiwan will also continue to work with our allies and other like-minded countries to safeguard regional peace, and make even greater efforts to contribute to the global economic recovery.
Spokesperson Lin stated that the principal members of this delegation include Secretary-General to the President Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of the Overseas Community Affairs Council Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Xavier Chang (張惇涵), Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Chen Chern-chyi (陳正祺), Presidential Office Medical Convener Chen Tsen-wen (陳振文), and the spokesperson herself, and added that after the press conference several members of the Legislative Yuan will be invited to join the delegation. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is abating around the world, a disease prevention plan will be implemented during the trip in consideration of the health and safety of the delegation members.
Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Tah-ray Yui (俞大㵢) outlined the trip itinerary and explained that the purposes of the president's trip are to highlight the depth of Taiwan's friendship with Guatemala and Belize and the fruitful results of our bilateral cooperation, as well as to show the prospects for further co-prosperity, and to set the stage for increased high-level interactions and friendship between our nations.
Vice Minister Yui said that during this trip to Guatemala the president will meet with President Giammattei, stand witness as the two countries' foreign ministers sign a basic Taiwan-Guatemala cooperation agreement, attend a state banquet hosted by President Giammattei, attend the inauguration of the Chimaltenango Regional Hospital, and meet with representatives of the Taiwanese community residing in Guatemala. During the president's trip to Belize, she will meet with Prime Minister Briceño, witness a signing by the two countries' foreign ministers of a technical cooperation framework agreement, deliver a speech at the National Assembly, inspect the Breeding Sheep and Goat Production and Guidance System Enhancement Project implemented under a Taiwan technical mission, and attend an exhibit showing some of the successes achieved through the women's empowerment project. President Tsai will also attend a state banquet hosted by Governor-General Froyla Tzalam and another banquet hosted by Prime Minister Briceño, and will also attend a reception to meet with representatives of the Taiwanese community residing in Belize.
Vice Minister Yui emphasized that promoting summit diplomacy and friendship between Taiwan's senior officials and those of our allies has always been central to our government's diplomatic work, as well as a primary task in our strategy of steadfast diplomacy to bolster relations with our diplomatic allies. He said that this is the first trip to a diplomatic ally by President Tsai since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020, making it especially meaningful, and the details of her itinerary are currently under careful planning. He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to work with other government agencies as well as with the governments of Guatemala and Belize to properly manage the president's upcoming trip.