On the afternoon of August 7, President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by Vice President Chen Chien-jen and Mrs. Chen, met with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and Mrs. Gonsalves, and accepted the credentials of new SVG Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Taiwan Andrea Bowman. The president expressed hope that with the opening of the SVG Embassy in Taiwan, our bilateral relations will only grow stronger. She also said she looks forward to Prime Minister Gonsalves' continued support for Taiwan's international participation, so that together, we can make even greater contributions to the common good.
President Tsai first accepted the credentials of new SVG Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Taiwan Andrea Bowman, and welcomed her to her new post. Among those present at the ceremony were Prime Minister Gonsalves and Mrs. Gonsalves.
After the ceremony, the president held a meeting with Prime Minister Gonsalves. The following is a translation of President Tsai's remarks:
It is a great pleasure to once again welcome our long-time friend Prime Minister Gonsalves to Taiwan. This is your 11th visit to Taiwan and the 10th visit to our Presidential Office. Your many visits to our country demonstrate the importance you attach to relations with Taiwan and underline the strength of our bilateral partnership.
In your 25 years in politics since you became a Member of Parliament in 1994, you have built a long list of accomplishments. In particular, you led the Unity Labour Party to an election victory in 2001, helping it gain governing power and making you Prime Minister, a role you continue to fulfill splendidly today.
In fact, you are the longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Your tenure also exceeds that of any other currently serving Prime Minister in the Caribbean. This reflects your outstanding governance and your support among all sectors of society. As a close diplomatic ally of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan felt a sense of deep pride when earlier this year, your country was elected as a Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council for the period 2020-2021. I am confident that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will make vital contributions to global stability, sustainable development and world peace in this position.
Last month, during my state visit to your beautiful nation, I witnessed the tremendous outcomes of our bilateral cooperation. In all areas, including vocational training and talent cultivation, infrastructure development, and technology application in healthcare and agriculture, impressive achievements have been made. I am sure that with the opening of the Saint Vincent and Grenadines Embassy in Taiwan, our bilateral relations will only grow stronger.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has been tireless in supporting Taiwan in the international arena. Despite Beijing's efforts to infiltrate and manipulate the Caribbean region, your country has stood firm in maintaining our diplomatic partnership. Prime Minister, you have spoken up for Taiwan on many occasions at the UN General Debate. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I want to say how moved and grateful we are by your firm support.
I sincerely hope you will once again speak up for Taiwan at the UN General Assembly in September, and continue to endorse our international participation. By assisting each other on the world stage, we can make even greater contributions to the common good. Thank you!
In his remarks that followed, Prime Minister Gonsalves stated that he was happy to be here again, and that he first came to the Presidential Office in 2001. We are in a very challenging world, awash with a lot of contradictions, a lot of complications, he said, and there are some tried-and-tested ways for us to resolve these contradictions and mute, as far as possible, the complications.
The prime minister pointed out that no country has the right to arrogate unto itself [the authority to decide] what other nations do. It doesn't matter how powerful you are, how rich you are, how large your territory is, or how many people are in your territory. You have to respect one another. And therefore we have to act not just in bilateral ways, but we have to build multilateral cooperation. He added that we cannot go about threatening other people. It is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations to threaten the use of force against any other people, and the corollary of that is that we have to live in peace with one another.
Prime Minister Gonsalves mentioned that all over the world it doesn't matter what governments may say or do. In the hearts and minds of ordinary men and women, this magnificent place called Taiwan is held in high esteem, in the hearts and minds of ordinary people all over the world. How can Taiwan not be in awe as to what it has achieved? As a multi-island state, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines treasures what Taiwan does, and looks up to Taiwan as an example of what is possible. And in all our relations with Taiwan, he said, over the last 38 years, we work with one another, we help one another, and in this way, we show our love for one another. He went on to say that the women and young people—especially the young women in St. Vincent and the Grenadines—told him that he must tell "auntie's" side how they feel, because President Tsai came across to them like their aunt, like one of the family. And that, he said, is a good thing, a very good thing.