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President Tsai holds banquet for Taiwanese expatriates in Belize


President Tsai holds reception in Belize for traveling press corps

Though vast distances separate Taiwan and Belize, seeing our expatriates here makes me feel warm and familiar, like a homecoming. As there are fewer people in a smaller room, it feels warm and intimate. It's great to see you here.

As president, a key task is to lead Taiwan by going out to engage with the world. But in fact, our expatriates have long been doing exactly that, and thanks to your efforts, people in far-away Belize have come to know Taiwan's hallmark qualities of perseverance, passion and innovation. And for that, I want to express to you my respect and gratitude.

Due to our expatriate businesses and local relationships, Taiwan-Belize relations are stronger than ever. I want to thank you again. Amongst all the expatriates here, the most well-known is undoubtedly Mr. Lee Mark Chang (鄭經緯), the president of the Senate of Belize.

This is my first time in Belize. Just on the second day of my visit here, the warm hospitality of the Belize government and people has already impressed me tremendously. From my meeting with Prime Minister Dean Oliver Barrow to the dinner banquet hosted by Governor-General Colville Young, every occasion has reinforced Belize's firm support for Taiwan, and mutual hope for the continued deepening of bilateral collaboration.

I know that our expatriates in Belize have kept a close watch on developments in Taiwan. I want to tell you that, after two years of laying the groundwork and pushing for progress, our key reforms, infrastructure projects and economic measures have already shown promising results, especially on the economic and industrial transformation fronts.

Economic growth has surpassed expectations, and topped 3% for four straight quarters. Exports have also been strong. Beyond overall numbers, world-class companies like Microsoft, Micron, Cisco, Google and Amazon have all initiated new investments or expanded existing projects in Taiwan, showing that they’re confident about Taiwan's future.

Hard work over the past two years has put Taiwan back on the right track and provided the groundwork to make major gains. There are followers of Yiguandao (aka I-Kuan Tao) present, and my spokesperson Huang Chung-yen (黃重諺) was also raised in a family that followed Yiguandao. Even till today, he is still a practicing member of the Yiguandao sect and a vegetarian. I have also attended Yiguandao prayer ceremonies during the past two years to pray for blessings for our country, and that Taiwan society may see greater unity and security. I believe that everyone shares these hopes.

Amongst us, there are a group of people who deserve special attention and appreciation. They are the members of the Taiwan Technical Mission in Belize. I want to thank them for taking the responsibility of doing such important work so far from home, supporting Belize in public health and sanitation, agriculture and animal husbandry, and information technology, as well as becoming a pivotal pillar in Taiwan-Belize bilateral diplomacy.

Today, I want to specially praise the mission members for supporting our diplomatic efforts and bringing honor to our country. Some of the mission members are honored guests at the banquet, some are working to support the event, and others cannot attend. No matter where you are, I am willing to travel a long way, most importantly, to say, "Thank you. Really, thank you so much," on behalf of Taiwan.

Taiwan's future development needs the continued concern and support of our expatriates. As you continue your efforts in Belize, we should work together to ensure that Taiwan continues to shine in every corner of the world. I wish everyone continued health and happiness.

I also want to introduce some of my delegation members: Vice Minister Mei-Hua Wang (王美花) of Economic Affairs; Deputy Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) of the Council of Agriculture; President Kico Lin (林貴香) of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce; Chairman Henry Kao (高志尚) of I-Mei Foods Co.; Chairman Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵) of the Overseas Investment & Development Corp.; President Huang Yu-cheng (黃育徵) of Taiwan Sugar Corporation; Senior Advisors to the Overseas Community Affairs Council Chang Shuang Lung (張雙隆) and Tzu-Li Fred Shyu (徐自立); National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維); and our Ambassador to Belize Charles K.Y. Liu (劉克裕).

I hope you have a great time at the lunch. Any opinions or ideas that you would like to share with us will be certainly welcomed. I wish everyone here today good health. Thank you. Thank you all.

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