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President Lai welcomes Prime Minister Terrance Drew of Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis with full military honors
President Lai welcomes Prime Minister Terrance Drew of Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis with full military honors

President Lai Ching-te welcomed Prime Minister Terrance Drew of the Federation of Saint Christopher and Nevis and his wife on the morning of June 24 with full military honors. In remarks, President Lai expressed hope that our countries will continue to promote cooperative programs that help further advance the well-being of our peoples.

The welcome ceremony began at 10:30 a.m. in the plaza fronting the Presidential Office. President Lai and Prime Minister Drew each delivered remarks after a 19-gun salute, the playing of the two countries’ national anthems, and a review of the military honor guard.

A translation of President Lai’s remarks follows:

On behalf of the people and government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I would like to warmly welcome Prime Minister Drew, who is once again leading a delegation to Taiwan. This is Prime Minister Drew’s second visit since taking office, demonstrating his high regard for the diplomatic ties between our countries.

Taiwan and St. Kitts and Nevis share the common values of democracy and respect for human rights. Over the years, our diplomatic partnership has continued to deepen, and cooperation across all domains has produced fruitful results. I also want to thank Prime Minister Drew for speaking up for Taiwan and demonstrating full support for us on the international stage.

Today, we are welcoming Prime Minister Drew, his wife Mrs. Diani Jmesha Prince-Drew, and the delegation with full military honors. Through this visit, I eagerly anticipate that our countries will continue to promote cooperative programs that help further advance the well-being of our peoples. In closing, I wish Prime Minister Drew, Mrs. Prince-Drew, and the delegation a successful and fruitful trip.

Prime Minister Drew then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:

Good afternoon all, President Lai, and to your delegation, and to your country. And I also want to recognize my own delegation that you have so ably introduced. I want to also present my dear wife, Madam Prince-Drew.

Distinguished guests, members of the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan), honored delegates, and friends: It is an immense honor to address you today in my capacity as the head of government of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. My delegation and I are profoundly grateful for your warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements made for this significant state visit.

This visit to Taiwan holds great importance, as it fortifies the solid foundation built over more than four decades, allowing us to implement projects under the broad rubric of functional cooperation. It places us at the threshold of a new era of enhanced partnership, where we can explore creative solutions to the challenges that may hinder our development objectives.

We cannot overlook the rich legacy of technical assistance and other support, capacity building, and international advocacy that have shaped our bilateral relationship since our independence in 1983. Many of our nationals have benefited from scholarships to pursue tertiary education here in Taiwan, returning home to contribute significantly to our national development.

Mr. President, I extend my heartfelt congratulations on your recent election victory. Your leadership marks the beginning of a promising chapter for Taiwan, and we look forward to strengthening our ties further under your guidance.

While some countries are endowed with abundant natural resources, our people are our greatest asset. Therefore, it is essential for us to continually strive to build our human resource capacity. We are eternally grateful to the government and people of the Republic of China [Taiwan] for their valuable assistance in achieving this objective. We are equally grateful for your assistance we receive in agriculture, healthcare, public infrastructure, ICT [information and communications technology], [and] environmental conservation, among other [areas]. As friends, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis is always ready to use its influence in international fora to advocate for values and principles that we share with Taiwan.

In conclusion, we have no hesitation in promoting our shared values of democracy, good governance, human rights, and the rule of law. We firmly believe that Taiwan has a vital role in sustaining a vibrant global economy through the manufacturing and export of quality goods and services. Additionally, Taiwan’s contributions to global efforts in addressing pandemics, climate change adaptation and mitigation, disaster preparedness, food and livelihood security, and rapid urbanization are all invaluable. Thank you.

Also in attendance at the welcome ceremony were St. Kitts and Nevis Ambassador Donya Francis, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador Andrea Clare Bowman, and other members of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan.

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