President Tsai Ing-wen welcomed Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and Mrs. Gonsalves on the afternoon of August 7 with full military honors, emphasizing that SVG has always been Taiwan's staunchest ally in the Caribbean. The president also expressed hope that with the new SVG Embassy in Taiwan, we will see even more landmark accomplishments in our longstanding diplomatic ties and cooperation.
The welcome ceremony with military honors was held at 16:30 in the Main Plaza of the National Theater & Concert Hall of the National Performing Arts Center. After a 19-gun salute and the performance of the national anthems of both countries, President Tsai and Prime Minister Gonsalves each delivered an address.
The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
Last month, the Journey of Freedom, Democracy and Sustainability took me to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. I was very grateful for the warm welcome and tremendous courtesy accorded to my delegation by Prime Minister Gonsalves and your government. Many concrete and fruitful outcomes were reached during my stay in your beautiful country.
I also appreciate that you accepted our invitation to make this reciprocal trip less than a month after my visit. This clearly shows that both our countries attach great importance to our diplomatic partnership. On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I would like to express my heartfelt welcome and gratitude.
Since we established formal diplomatic ties 38 years ago, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has always been Taiwan's staunchest ally in the Caribbean. Indeed, during my visit, I witnessed the substantial and impressive achievements of our joint endeavors in fields such as infrastructure, agriculture, education, healthcare and ICT.
Your stay in Taiwan will serve to further deepen our bilateral exchanges and cooperation. Another important goal of this visit is to unveil the plaque for your country's new Embassy. I have every confidence that with this new Embassy, and through the joint efforts of the new Ambassador and officials from both nations, we will see even more landmark accomplishments in our longstanding diplomatic ties and cooperation.
In closing, I would like to once again welcome Prime Minister Gonsalves, Madame Gonsalves, and all the delegates. I wish you a pleasant and productive visit. May our countries enjoy an everlasting friendship and stronger partnership in the years ahead. Thank you!
In his remarks that followed, Prime Minister Gonsalves stated that he was very happy to be in Taiwan on yet another occasion at this very beautiful location. In addition to thanking the government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for a warm welcome, he stated that Taiwan and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have been very good friends now for 38 years, and have developed links as though we are families, as a general love and warmth between our two peoples.
Prime Minister Gonsalves then mentioned President Tsai's visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines last month, saying that the women and young people of their country were thrilled to see her. It's not often that they see a female president, he stated, and the fact that she has become the leader of this great country, as the first woman, is a matter of real significance to the women, and especially the young women in his country.
The prime minister pointed out that one of the central purposes of his visit to Taiwan on this occasion is to formally open the Embassy of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Our ties are growing stronger over the years, he said, and the opening of the Embassy is a mark of the maturation of our relations. He stated that he's sure that both our countries will benefit from the establishment of this Embassy here. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has sent a very distinguished lady, Ambassador Bowman, to represent them, the prime minister said, and she will endear herself to the government and people of Taiwan.
Among those present at the welcome ceremony were Vice President Chen Chien-jen and Mrs. Chen, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chuyan (蘇嘉全), Examination Yuan President Wu Jin-lin (伍錦霖), Control Yuan President Chang Po-ya (張博雅), National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Overseas Community Affairs Council Minister Hsin-hsing Wu (吳新興), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Shih Keh-her (施克和), and the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan.