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President Tsai arrives in the Kingdom of Eswatini, meets with King Mswati III, and witnesses the signing of bilateral agreements
President Tsai arrives in the Kingdom of Eswatini, meets with King Mswati III, and witnesses the signing of bilateral agreements

After a flight of 14 hours, President Tsai Ing-wen's charter plane arrived at the Kingdom of Eswatini's King Mswati III International Airport on the afternoon of September 5 local time (evening of the same day Taipei time).

Ambassador to the Kingdom of Eswatini Jeremy H.S. Liang (梁洪昇) and Eswatini Protocol Officer Swazi Patrick Dlamini boarded the plane to welcome President Tsai. After alighting from the plane, President Tsai was received by Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini of Eswatini who accompanied the president as she received military honors and took in a traditional dance performance. The president also greeted and shook hands with the members of our overseas community who came to the airport to give her a warm welcome.

President Tsai then proceeded to a state protocol lounge for talks with Prime Minister Dlamini before being driven to Mandvulo Grand Hall to meet with King Mswati III of Eswatini. President Tsai and King Mswati exchanged opinions on a wide range of topics, including healthcare, bilateral relations, women's empowerment, and economic cooperation.

Following their meeting, President Tsai and King Mswati witnessed the signings of a memorandum of understanding on funding for women entrepreneurs in Eswatini by Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) and Eswatini Minister of Economic Planning and Development Tambo Gina, who were accompanied by our two countries' ambassadors; a sister city agreement signed by Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) and Mbabane Mayor Vusi Tembe; and a memorandum of understanding signed by Overseas Investment and Development Corporation General Manager Jeff Chung (鍾家富) and Eswatini National Petroleum Company CEO Nhlanhla Dlamini.

A transcript of President Tsai's remarks at the signing follows:

I will be brief because I have a lot to talk [about] tomorrow at the ceremony. The purpose of this trip to Eswatini is because of the king's kind invitation to come over to participate in this triple celebration. The first celebration is of course about the founding of Eswatini 55 years ago. And the second one of course is the king's birthday, so happy birthday to you. At the age of 55, you are still a young king. The third celebration of course is the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between us, and this is the 55th year of our diplomatic relations. So I am very delighted to have the opportunity to come and to join this celebration. And also I am very grateful for your help, particularly for our international participation. And we have a long history of working together to help each other.

The three agreements or documents that we signed today [are] a very significant event in our relationship. In fact, I think it sets the milestones for our future relationship. The first one of course is about women's empowerment, which I am very mindful of, and this gender equality issue is something that we attach great importance [to] in Taiwan, especially in recent years. And we hope that we can be helpful in terms of women who want to establish businesses by setting up startups. And we will be happy to provide help to provide finance to women who want to have their own businesses. I am very happy to see that Eswatini has this initiative and we are more than happy to participate in this initiative. It is a great project and we are delighted to be part of it.

The second document, I am very glad that we have, is this sister city arrangement between two major cities in Taiwan and Eswatini. I think it's not only a relationship between central governments. We also like to see the relationship deepen so that our cities will be able to interact and help each other as well. So we are glad that we have the city mayor of Kaohsiung coming to join us here today. And I am sure he would find it very beneficial in having the sister relationship with the capital city of Eswatini.

And the third one, of course, is a project that we have been discussing for quite some time. And I want to thank the king [for his] personal intervention to make this project possible. So thank you very much for your help. And I look forward to a successful execution of this project so that we will be able to establish the strategic oil reserve facilities here and to make the supply of energy more secure in the future. This is a great project and I hope that [in] the future execution [we] will be very mindful of the time and efficiency when we are executing these projects.

I would like to say, this is my second time here. The last time we met here was five years ago celebrating your 50th birthday. And this time, five years later, we have by this time got through the challenges of COVID-19 and a lot of other challenges as well. So when we meet each other again here in Eswatini, it is a delight, and I enjoy coming here, I enjoy the friendship that you offer to us, and I hope this friendship will continue and deepen, and the relationship between the two countries will be forever. And with our joint efforts, I am sure the relationship will be deepened, will be broadened in the years to come. 

King Mswati delivered remarks prior, welcoming President Tsai to Eswatini for the double celebration of Eswatini's independence and his birthday, and remarked that in this case, it is a triple celebration as Taiwan and Eswatini will also commemorate 55 years of diplomatic ties. King Mswati said that President Tsai's trip is a testament to our bilateral friendship – which continues to grow – and will further strengthen our cooperation.

As Eswatini is working hard to become a first world country and improve living standards, the king stated that Taiwan has already become such a country and that Eswatini can reach this goal with the support of friends like Taiwan. He also noted that the agreements signed that day are very important and a milestone in our bilateral cooperation.

Commenting on bilateral efforts to advance Eswatini's development, King Mswati said that, supported by Taiwan, the rural electrification project has brought electricity to most citizens of Eswatini. His Majesty added that our countries also have agricultural and economic cooperation and mentioned that some Taiwanese companies are operating in Eswatini, but that they are looking to have more companies enter the country as this will create a lot of opportunities for the people of Eswatini.

King Mswati expressed his appreciation for Taiwan's support and noted that every time officials from our countries meet, our relationship gets stronger. He also expressed hope that the agreements signed will be transformed into meaningful results.

King Mswati said that Eswatini is aware that Taiwan is not able to fully participate in the international arena and that Eswatini will continue to appeal for Taiwan's participation in all UN agencies, because that will allow Taiwan to exchange with the rest of the world and access information to address challenges. His Majesty said that we should all live in harmony, in happiness, and in support of each other. As such, he said that participation in these agencies brings access to a lot of information.

King Mswati stated that Eswatini and Taiwan have emerged strong from recent challenges, in spite of their difficulties. He emphasized that Eswatini and Taiwan will remain united, will work together on all fronts, and will strategize on how to make both our countries and peoples proud of the relationship and partnership we have established. 

Also in attendance were Eswatini Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Thulisile Dladla and CEO of the King's Office Mgwagwa Gamedze, as well as Taiwan's Overseas Community Affairs Council Minister Hsu Chia-ching (徐佳青), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Xavier Chang (張惇涵), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Roy Chun Lee (李淳), and legislators Chiu Chih-wei (邱志偉), Chiu Tai-yuan (邱泰源), Fan Yun (范雲), and Chiu Chen-yuan (邱臣遠).

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