On the morning of February 2, President Tsai Ing-wen met with the Kingdom of Eswatini Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Pholile Shakantu and her husband. In remarks, President Tsai thanked Eswatini for its longstanding support of Taiwan's international participation and for speaking up for Taiwan at international venues, including last year at the United Nations General Assembly and the World Health Assembly (WHA). The president expressed hope that with the robust cooperation between Taiwan and Eswatini, the two countries will continue to advance our partnership in all domains and reach new milestones in our diplomatic friendship.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
I would like to welcome Minister Shakantu, who is leading a delegation to Taiwan for the first time, and thank her for the generous hospitality during my visit to Eswatini last September. I am delighted to see you again and hope that you can fully experience Taiwan's rich culture.
In recent years, interactions and exchanges between Taiwan and Eswatini have grown closer. On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I would like to thank Eswatini for its longstanding support of Taiwan's international participation. We were deeply touched when Eswatini voiced support for Taiwan at international venues, including last year at the United Nations General Assembly and the WHA.
The robust cooperation between Taiwan and Eswatini has yielded fruitful results in such areas as economy and trade, public health, and information and communications technology, and has enhanced the well-being of both our peoples. During my visit to Eswatini last year, King Mswati III and I witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding on funding for women entrepreneurs, a sister city agreement between Kaohsiung and Mbabane, and a memorandum of understanding between the Overseas Investment and Development Corporation and the Eswatini National Petroleum Company. These exchanges and partnerships will help further elevate diplomatic ties.
I hope that Minister Shakantu and our other guests will gain a deeper understanding of Taiwan through this visit. I look forward to Taiwan and Eswatini continuing to advance our partnership in all domains and reaching new milestones in our diplomatic friendship.
In closing, I wish Minister Shakantu and her delegation a successful trip. Please also convey warm greetings from Taiwan to King Mswati III and Queen Mother Ntombi Tfwala.
Minister Shakantu then delivered remarks, extending warm greetings on behalf of King Mswati III, the queen mother, and the government and people of Eswatini. The minister said she is deeply humbled by the warm reception and hospitality extended to the delegation by the people of Taiwan.
Minister Shakantu recalled that during Eswatini's 55th Independence Day celebration, attended by President Tsai, she had the honor of serving as minister-in-waiting. The minister said the memories of President Tsai's presence during the occasion were etched in their hearts and minds, underscoring the deep, enduring friendship between Taiwan and Eswatini, as well as the genuine warmth of our bilateral relationship.
The minister also commended Taiwan for our recent elections, which were conducted in a peaceful, fair, transparent, and efficient manner. She said that the high voter participation rate was a testament to the Taiwanese people's confidence in the electoral process, and a reflection of Taiwan's commitment to strong democratic values.
Minister Shakantu expressed gratitude to President Tsai for the unwavering support and friendship Taiwan extended to Eswatini during her presidency. She said that assistance provided across various sectors, including healthcare, education, agriculture, and technology, significantly contributed to the socioeconomic development of Eswatini and the well-being of its people. President Tsai's generosity and solidarity during times of need, she said, have truly exemplified the spirit of cooperation and partnership between Taiwan and Eswatini. The minister said 55 years of diplomatic cooperation have empowered both Taiwan and Eswatini to address shared challenges and pursue common goals for the benefit of our citizens.
Minister Shakantu said that President Tsai's tenure has not only been a source of inspiration for the people of Taiwan, but has also resonated deeply with nations across the globe, including Eswatini. The minister went on to say that President Tsai's dedication to fostering strong diplomatic ties, promoting economic growth, and advocating for human rights has left an indelible mark on the international stage. Navigating an increasingly difficult path under unrelenting pressure, she said, President Tsai's administration stood firm in defense of the principles, norms, and values that we all cherish. Minister Shakantu extended to President Tsai Eswatini's wishes for success and fulfillment in her future endeavors after her presidency, saying that her leadership and vision have left an enduring legacy that will continue to inspire generations to come.
Minister Shakantu reaffirmed Eswatini's steadfast support for Taiwan and unwavering commitment to upholding the principles of sovereignty, self-determination, and international solidarity. She said Eswatini stands firm in the belief that Taiwan deserves full and equal participation in the global community, and remains committed to advocating for its rightful place on the world stage. The minister said she hopes the longstanding friendship and cooperation between Taiwan and Eswatini continue to flourish, guided by cherished shared values and mutual respect.
Eswatini Ambassador Promise Msibi was also in attendance at the meeting.