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Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future—2017 State Visits to Pacific Allies

Purpose and achievements

Purpose

Since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016, leaders of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Pacific have often expressed hope that she would visit their countries. To demonstrate how much we value our long-standing friendships and to enhance bilateral relations, President Tsai led a delegation to visit the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, and the Solomon Islands, our three longest-standing Pacific allies.

This was President Tsai's first visit to the Pacific island nations since taking office. The delegation departed on October 28, 2017 and returned on November 4, 2017, making two transit stops in the United States—Honolulu on the outbound leg and Guam on the return leg.

To promote the "steadfast diplomacy" policy and consolidate diplomatic ties, President Tsai held sincere discussions with the heads of state in each country. She also gained a greater understanding of regional development needs by seeing and experiencing things first-hand, establishing mutual trust and consensus to foster the mutually beneficial cooperation in the spirit of "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future."

During her visits and US transit stops, President Tsai also hosted banquets for Taiwan expatriates and overseas personnel, where she praised their long-term efforts and hard work, which increase Taiwan’s international visibility and strengthen bilateral diplomatic ties.

Delegation members for the trip included: Senior Advisor to the President Koo Kwang-ming (辜寬敏); Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮); Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維); Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中); Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) of the Overseas Community Affairs Council; Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒); National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥); and legislators Lin Ching-Yi (林靜儀) and Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯.尤達卡).

Itinerary (Based on local times)

 

Achievements

During the eight-day, seven-night mission dubbed "Sustainable Austronesia, Working Together for a Better Future—2017 State Visits to Pacific Allies," President Tsai held sincere discussions with the heads of state and other high-ranking political leaders in each country. She also shared Taiwan's experience in implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, strengthened substantive cooperation with our diplomatic allies in education, healthcare and agriculture, and enhanced cultural ties. This mission achieved success by making the spirit of "Working Together for a Better Future" a concrete reality, and once again putting the "steadfast diplomacy and mutual assistance for mutual benefits" concept into practice. 

In each country she visited, President Tsai shared Taiwan's experience in implementing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals with the heads of state and high-ranking political leaders. She also emphasized that Taiwan will share its professional expertise in areas that directly affect our allies’ citizens including education, medicine, and agriculture, strengthening substantive cooperation through the "steadfast diplomacy” and “mutual assistance for mutual benefits" policies.

 

During her trip, President Tsai and her counterparts in all three countries held intensive, wide-ranging bilateral talks on issues of mutual concern. The respective heads of state and prime ministers all personally expressed gratitude for Taiwan's longstanding assistance, and pledged continued support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations. President Tsai also honored an invitation to address the parliaments of both the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands, where she expressed hope that substantive cooperation will help create win-win situations based on mutual aid for mutual benefits.

 

To enhance cultural links with our three diplomatic allies, President Tsai invited Minister of the Council of Indigenous Peoples Icyang Parod (夷將‧拔路兒) and Legislator Kolas Yotaka (谷辣斯.尤達卡) to join her on this trip, and presented carefully selected gifts with Austronesian character to the respective heads of state and political leaders. She also cited experts from the Solomon Islands who helped Taiwan’s Amis tribe re-create their ancient "fayan" sailboats as an example of the shared Austronesian culture and profound cultural links that help make the spirit of "Working Together for a Better Future" a reality.

 

President Tsai witnessed the signing of agreements to continue a medical internship program and establish a hospital information system in the Marshall Islands. David Alfred, the first Marshallese graduate of the School of Medicine for International Students at Taiwan's I-Shou University, also delivered remarks in Mandarin, thanking Taiwan for contributing to healthcare in the Marshall Islands.

President Tsai also visited a Taiwan-renovated mother and child health center in Tuvalu’s Princess Margaret Hospital and the Solomon Islands’ Taiwan Health Center, where Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-Chung (陳時中) donated medical supplies on Taiwan’s behalf to the Solomon Islands’ Central Hospital.

 

During her state visits, President Tsai inspected Taiwan’s technical missions in the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands, and saw how our mission staff use their expertise to promote agriculture projects appropriate for local conditions.

One example is our technical mission in the Marshall Islands, which introduced "zero-waste agriculture/circular economy” operational concepts to fully utilize limited resources while promoting agricultural development. Our technical missions in the Solomon Islands also use their expertise to improve the quality of vegetables, fruits and pigs, providing timely technical guidance throughout the agricultural sector.

 

President Tsai and Marshall Islands President Heine, equally determined to emphasize education, witnessed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) establishing a fund to finance a joint presidential scholarship program.

President Tsai also pledged to help Tuvalu set up a technical and vocational training program to give more people a chance to learn marketable skills.

She also announced that beginning in 2018, Taiwan's six Pacific allies will be granted an additional 18 higher education scholarships under the Taiwan Scholarship Program to help overcome their limited higher education resources.

 

Fighting global climate change has long been a focal point of Taiwan's bilateral cooperation with our Pacific allies. By procuring appropriate clean energy products and equipment from Taiwan, they can improve their citizens' quality of life and achieve national sustainable development objectives. At the same time, Taiwan businesses can develop foreign markets, effectively putting steadfast diplomacy into practice through mutual assistance that generates mutual benefits.

 
  • US provides high-level courtesies and treatment: To ensure safety, convenience, comfort, and dignity, US authorities provided the delegation with high-level entry/exit courtesies and security, permitted the travelling press corps to cover President Tsai's public itinerary, and made head-of-state level arrangements for President Tsai’s visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.When President Tsai landed in Guam for a transit stop on her way home, Guam Governor Eddie Calvo was there to personally greet her, and the airport and surrounding roadways were draped with ROC flags to welcome her. US authorities at both the federal and local levels thus clearly attached great importance to President Tsai’s transit stop and provided high-level courtesies.
  • Interactions with leading US politicians strengthen US support for Taiwan: Members from both houses of the Hawaii State Legislature showed their friendship and support for Taiwan by avidly attending the expatriate community banquet. Guam Governor Eddie Calvo personally hosted a welcome reception for President Tsai at the Ricardo J. Bordallo Governor's Complex. At that reception, Benjamin Cruz, Guam’s legislative speaker, presented President Tsai with a copy of a resolution welcoming her to Guam and commending her contributions to humanitarian aid, environmental protection and sustainable development policies.
  • President attended Hawaiian think tank seminar: President Tsai participated in a seminar with scholars from the East-West Center and Pacific Forum CSIS, emphasizing that Taiwan and the US have a solid partnership when addressing regional issues that underscores the mutually beneficial nature of our bilateral relationship.
  • President received a warm welcome from Taiwan expatriates: During transit stops in the US, President Tsai received a warm welcome from local expatriates. Over 300 people attended expatriate banquets held in Hawaii and Guam, showing their deep affection for Taiwan and determination to work with the people at home to create a prosperous future for our country.

 

 
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