On the morning of November 14, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Belize Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington and his wife. President Tsai thanked the government of Belize and Minister Elrington for their firm support of Taiwan's international participation, and expressed hope that Taiwan and Belize would cooperate to make even more contributions to the world.
In remarks, the president first welcomed her guests, then stated that the last time she had met with Minister Elrington and his wife was in May of 2016, when she had just taken office. She added that she was very happy to once again receive the minister.
President Tsai pointed out that over the past year and more, exchanges between Taiwan and Belize have become increasingly close. In September of this year, for example, Taiwan and Belize signed an agreement on police cooperation, and the president expressed confidence that on this visit by Minister Elrington the two sides could engage in a more in-depth exchange of views about cooperation projects.
President Tsai noted that Belize has participated in quite a few exhibitions in Taiwan this year that have proved quite popular, including the Taipei Tourism Expo, the Food Taipei expo, and the Kaohsiung International Travel Fair. The president said she has heard that Belize's Ambassador to Taiwan Diane Haylock recommends chocolate made from Belize cocoa beans, which is reportedly quite delicious.
President Tsai stated that tourism is a major industry in Belize, and the government hopes that even more Taiwanese will get to know this diplomatic ally, not only through exhibitions, but also through travel.
The president pointed out that last month the Central America Trade Office took a group of Taiwanese tour operators on a study trip to Belize. The government will continue to work hard with Belize to generate even more development in the area of tourism and travel, she said.
President Tsai emphasized that she appreciated the government of Belize for its many years of staunch support for Taiwan's international participation. During the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly this past September, Minister Elrington, speaking on behalf of the government of Belize, openly called on the UN to treat the people of Taiwan in accordance with the principles of fairness and justice. She said she was happy to be able to express her gratitude face-to-face to Minister Elrington, and expressed hope that Belize would continue to support Taiwan so that the two countries can cooperate to make even more contributions to the world.
Finally, she asked Minister Elrington to pass along her greetings to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, and to convey a heartfelt invitation from Taiwan for the prime minister to visit Taiwan himself, which would further promote the friendship between the two countries.
The guests also included: Patrick Andrews, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Ayesha Borland, Director of International Affairs in the Foreign Ministry; and Alifa Karisse Elrington, Councillor of the Belize City Council.