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President Tsai witnesses signing of agreement, attends laptop donation ceremony, sits in talks with Prime Minister John Briceño of Belize
President Tsai witnesses signing of agreement, attends laptop donation ceremony, sits in talks with Prime Minister John Briceño of Belize

On the morning of April 3 local time (evening of April 3 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen witnessed the signing of a technical cooperation framework agreement by the foreign ministers of Taiwan and Belize and attended a laptop donation ceremony before sitting in bilateral talks with Prime Minister John Briceño of Belize. 

At the signing and donation ceremony, after standing for the two countries' national anthems, President Tsai then delivered remarks. 

A transcript of President Tsai's remarks follows:

It is a great pleasure to be back in Belize. I want to begin by expressing my appreciation to Prime Minister Briceño and the government of Belize for their warm welcome. Just in March last year, I had the privilege of receiving Prime Minister Briceño, Minister [of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration Eamon] Courtenay, and their delegation in Taipei. I am glad to see you all again today as we prepare to sign another agreement bolstering our bilateral cooperation.

Ever since we established diplomatic relations 34 years ago, Taiwan and Belize have worked closely together. While our joint efforts cover many more fields, on this visit we will witness our progress in education, agriculture, women’s empowerment, and healthcare. Later today, we will hold a ceremony marking our collaboration on the construction of the San Pedro General Hospital. This facility will improve healthcare services for local residents and tourists in some of Belize’s most famous tourist destinations. 

In addition to collaboration in the medical field, it could be said that among the many areas of our bilateral cooperation, education is one of the most enduring and impactful. In the past few years, we have seen young Belizeans continue to apply for scholarships to study in Taiwan. I am always heartened by how enthusiastic they are about education and recognize its importance for one’s future. In a moment, I will mark the handover of 5,000 laptops with Prime Minister Briceño. I hope these laptops make a difference to young Belizeans in their quest for knowledge, and help them realize their educational aspirations.

Prime Minister Briceño and I had extensive discussions on these two projects when he was in Taiwan last year. It is encouraging to see these projects taking shape in Belize. In addition, technical projects are essential to bettering the lives of our citizens. Therefore, I am also delighted to bear witness to our foreign ministers’ signing of an agreement that will streamline and strengthen our bilateral technical cooperation. I look forward to more cooperation in the many years to come. 

In addition to our many collaborations, we are proud to call Belize, a fellow believer in freedom and democracy, our close ally. Just a few days ago, your House of Representatives passed a motion reiterating Belize’s support and friendship for Taiwan. On behalf of the people and government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I would like to take this opportunity to thank Belize for its strong support for Taiwan’s democracy and international participation. 

Both our ongoing projects and future commitments are signs of a bright future for our bilateral ties. I look forward to working closely with Belize to achieve our shared goals. May our collaboration continue to flourish, just as it has over the past 34 years.

In remarks, Belize Prime Minister Briceño welcomed the signing of a technical cooperation framework agreement between Taiwan and Belize. Citing the continued strengthening of bilateral relations and the many currently ongoing cooperation projects between our two countries, Prime Minister Briceño noted that Taiwan has offered its technical and scientific expertise in numerous areas, including a sheep and goat breeding and production enhancement project and cooperation assistance in the health sector, and said that these all support Belize’s growth and development. 

Prime Minister Briceño further observed that during the outbreak of the global pandemic, Taiwan actively helped Belize with its economic recovery and social stability. He also noted that Taiwan's scholarship program has led Belizean students to regard Taiwan as a first-choice country for further education and professional development, and said that all of these Belizean students “fall in love with Taiwan.”

Prime Minister Briceño observed that at today’s donation ceremony, Belize will receive 5,000 laptops made by Taiwanese manufacturers, which will help Belize improve learning resources for vulnerable groups, including children and women in rural areas. He said that the ceremony demonstrates Taiwan’s generosity and desire to help in the development of Belizean youth, and also described it a way of strengthening the bonds of friendship between the peoples of our two nations.

Stating that we live in an connected world where geography no longer separates us and where modern-day challenges know no borders, Prime Minister Briceño said we must therefore work together for the benefit of all, and strive to reach our goal of sustainable development. 

In closing, Prime Minister Briceño thanked President Tsai for her efforts to enhance the meaningful partnership between Taiwan and Belize, and for her commitment to initiatives that enhance the development of young people in Belize.

After their remarks, President Tsai joined Prime Minister Briceño in witnessing the signing by our respective foreign ministers Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Eamon Courtenay of the technical cooperation framework agreement between the governments of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Belize. The president expressed hope that the agreement would bring together a framework for technical cooperation between our two countries and improve the efficiency of project implementation.

Shortly after the signing, President Tsai and Prime Minister Briceño conducted the laptop donation ceremony before sitting for bilateral talks, in which they exchanged views on a wide range of issues of mutual concern.

Among those attending this event were Prime Minister Briceño; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration Courtenay; Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology Francis Fonseca; Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade, and Immigration Amalia Mai; and other cabinet members.

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