At noon on May 29, President Tsai Ing-wen hosted a state banquet for Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, and the two heads of state exchanged decorations.
During the exchange of decorations, President Tsai personally conferred the Order of Brilliant Jade with Grand Cordon, the highest honor accorded by the government of Taiwan, on President Moïse. Then President Moïse, on behalf of the government and people of Haiti, conferred the National Order of Honour and Merit on President Tsai.
In remarks delivered shortly thereafter at the state banquet, President Tsai said the decoration she received symbolized the close friendship between Taiwan and Haiti, and also expressed hope that the two countries will build on their long-standing friendship by continuing to cooperate for the well-being of their respective peoples.
President Tsai pointed out that President Moïse is an outstanding entrepreneur and politician, very dynamic, and has made improving Haiti's economy and raising his people's standard of living his primary goals. After taking office in 2017, President Moise launched his "Caravan of Change" program to build up Haiti's infrastructure and continue to prioritize agriculture, education, and healthcare policy. The program also seeks to attract investment from foreign companies to create more job opportunities and spur overall development. President Tsai said she was deeply impressed by the Haitian government's proactive stance.
President Tsai stated that in the fields of infrastructure development, agriculture, education, and healthcare projects, Taiwan and Haiti have extensive experience working on cooperative projects, and much has been achieved through bilateral exchanges. Taiwan hopes to fulfill its responsibility as a cooperative partner by using its technological strengths to assist with Haiti's national development and gradually achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, she said.
President Tsai stated that Haiti has been a key supporter to help expand Taiwan's international participation. It has sought to secure Taiwan's participation at the World Health Assembly, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the International Civil Aviation Organization so the world will see Taiwan's determination to contribute to the international community. Said the president: "This is the spirit of mutual assistance for mutual benefits!"
President Tsai concluded her remarks by inviting everyone at the banquet to drink a toast to lasting diplomatic ties and friendship between Taiwan and Haiti, and to the health and success of President and Mrs. Moïse and the members of the delegation.
President Moise followed with remarks of his own, thanking the Republic of China (Taiwan) government for its enthusiastic hospitality, which made him feel right at home. He added that Taiwan has long faced many challenges on the international stage, but has nevertheless achieved outstanding economic success. Taiwan and Haiti established diplomatic relations in 1956, so their friendship dates back over 60 years, with significant achievements through bilateral cooperation, he said.
President Moïse pointed out that President Tsai's invitation to make a state visit to Taiwan has given him a chance to learn more about the close bilateral relationship and promote bilateral solidarity. The friendship between Taiwan and Haiti is rooted in shared universal values like freedom and democracy. For Haiti, he said, the Republic of China (Taiwan) is a model, having modernized in less than 50 years and become one of the world's leading economies thanks to the courage and conviction of its people.
President Moïse said that Taiwan's developmental successes show that a country can overcome limitations and achieve economic development while at the same time maintaining political and social stability. Taiwan provides companies with a stable investment environment, and at the same time has been able to carry out needed political reforms.
President Moïse expressed confidence that Haiti can learn a lot from Taiwan's experience. He went on to say he hopes to further promote the bilateral relationship and take it to a new level to form a strategic partnership to forge closer people-to-people ties and greater bilateral solidarity.
To achieve this new level of partnership, said President Moïse, he hopes to spur more bilateral exchanges in agriculture, tourism, education, transportation, infrastructure development, public health, energy, and urban planning. This will foster closer ties in technology and commerce, and increase Taiwanese investments in Haiti. He expressed confidence that cooperation between Taiwan and Haiti will make Haiti more prosperous so that the bilateral friendship will continue to progress, becoming a model of success.