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President Tsai Visits the Kingdom of Eswatini

Purpose and achievements

President Tsai Visits the Kingdom of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)

Purpose

This year marks the 50th anniversary of official Taiwan-Swaziland diplomatic relations, the 50th birthday of Swaziland's King Mswati III, and the 50th anniversary of Swaziland's independence. At the invitation of King Mswati III, President Tsai led a delegation to the Kingdom of Swaziland. In addition to showing how much Taiwan values the alliance between the two nations, the trip also fostered a deeper mutual understanding, enhanced the bilateral friendship, and provided opportunities for on-site visits to see how on-going bilateral cooperation projects in healthcare, agriculture, and vocational training are being implemented.

This was the first time President Tsai led a delegation to Africa since taking office. This trip was dedicated to building an "enduring partnership" under the theme "Taiwan and Swaziland: Enduring Partners." The delegation boarded a China Airlines chartered plane on the morning of April 17 and flew directly to Swaziland, arriving on the afternoon of the same day. They returned to Taiwan at noon on April 21. The entire trip lasted five days, including four days and three nights in Swaziland.

Delegation members for the trip included: National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維); Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮); Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) of the Overseas Community Affairs Council; Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Ho Chi-Kung (何啟功); Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang (王美花); Legislative Yuan members Wang Ting-Yu (王定宇), Chen Ting-Fei (陳亭妃), and Chen Man-Li (陳曼麗); and representatives from the medical and business communities.

Itinerary (Based on local times)

 

Achievements

President Tsai's "enduring partnership" trip to Swaziland had many substantive achievements. As an act of friendship, the trip made a deep impression on King Mswati III, and the government and people of Swaziland. It also helped the people of Taiwan gain a better understanding of Swaziland's political and economic development, the customs and daily lives of its people, and how Taiwan's medical and technical missions are promoting international assistance. Trip achievements include: 

King Mswati III personally attended President Tsai's arrival and departure ceremonies at the airport in Swaziland, providing full military honors on both occasions, and at every opportunity treated her with utmost respect. He also awarded President Tsai the "Order of the Elephant," Swaziland's highest honor for a foreign female head of state, to recognize the president's outstanding leadership and contributions to strengthening bilateral relations. The two heads of state developed a strong rapport that fortified mutual trust and friendship, helping to achieve the trip's objective: "Taiwan and Swaziland: Enduring Partners."

 

President Tsai's trip, dedicated to "enduring partnership," helped Taiwan go out into the international community. Through reports filed by the accompanying press corps, people in Taiwan gained a better understanding of the concrete achievements of the government's "steadfast diplomacy" policy and active pursuit of greater international space. In a joint communiqué, Swaziland reiterated their firm support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations. And in a speech delivered at a double celebration commemorating his 50th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Swaziland's independence, King Mswati III once again clearly demonstrated his sincere support for Taiwan by calling on the United Nations and its affiliated organizations to accept Taiwan's participation.

 

During a luncheon with representatives of Taiwanese businesses in southern Africa, President Tsai listened to their views, and also expressed hope that sharing the stories of Taiwanese businesspeople who had successfully set up businesses in Africa would encourage more of their peers to come and develop markets in Africa. The president also helped Taiwanese companies understand advantages offered by Taiwan's diplomatic allies, and pledged to sign a Taiwan-Swaziland economic cooperation agreement, enhancing bilateral economic and trade ties to expand the reach of Taiwanese businesses in Africa.

 

This visit highlighted people-centered cooperation. In addition to inspecting the results of bilateral educational cooperation, President Tsai also announced that the Taiwan government will offer 100 vocational education scholarships to Swazi students that need economic assistance, and will also work with Swaziland's Queen Mother Ntombi Tfwala's foundation to implement a "Greenhouse Project" to help Swaziland train professional talent and promote women's employment.

 

During President Tsai's trip, dedicated to "enduring partnership," she hosted a banquet for over 300 Taiwanese expatriates based in Swaziland, Mozambique, South Africa, and Lesotho. She used the occasion to recognize Taiwan's medical, technical, and educational missions abroad for their display of Taiwan's industrious spirit, and devoted efforts on the front-line of diplomacy.

 

All the major Swazi media organizations, including the Times of Swaziland and the Swazi Observer, reported on President Tsai's visit in big front-page articles. Those reports helped the Swazi people understand the practical benefits of bilateral cooperation with Taiwan, and strengthened pro-Taiwan sentiment.

 
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