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Journey of Freedom, Democracy, and Sustainability

Purpose and achievements

President Tsai Ing-wen visit caribbean allies


Since taking office in May of 2016, President Tsai Ing-wen had led delegations to visit five Latin American diplomatic allies including Paraguay, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Belize, achieving excellent results. But to date, she had not visited Taiwan's four Caribbean diplomatic allies—Haiti, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia.

Responding to numerous invitations from senior officials in those four nations, the president led a delegation to visit those four allies from July 11 to 22, 2019 to show that Taiwan values its Caribbean allies, promote friendship between the president and senior leaders in those nations, and continue to deepen friendly and cooperative relations. The delegation also transited in New York on the outbound leg of the trip and in Denver on the return leg.

This journey included our four Caribbean diplomatic allies, with transit stops in the United States. These are all like-minded, free, and democratic countries that are actively promoting regional democracy and freedom, and are dedicated to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The purpose of this Journey of Freedom, Democracy, and Sustainability was to communicate to our diplomatic allies and the international community Taiwan's values of freedom, democracy, and sustainable development.

The delegation included: Secretary-General to the President Chen Chu (陳菊); 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; Legislative Yuan Vice President Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌); Legislators Kuan Bi-Ling (管碧玲), Lo Chih-Cheng (羅致政), Chung Kung-Chao (鍾孔炤), and Chao Tien-Lin (趙天麟); National Policy Advisor to the President Liu Chin-hsin (劉進興); Deputy Secretary-General to the President Liu Chien-sin (劉建忻); National Security Council Deputy Secretary-General Tsai Ming-yen (蔡明彥); Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花); President Wan-feng Yu (游萬豐) of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce; and Chairman Lin Wen-yuan (林文淵) of the Overseas Investment & Development Corp.

Itinerary (Based on local times)



During the 12-day, 11-night 2019 Journey of Freedom, Democracy, and Sustainability, President Tsai received high-level courtesies and treatment from the governments of our four diplomatic allies. During her visits, she exchanged ideas on matters of shared concern in sincere communication with all the respective heads of state, and also conducted on-site visits to inspect bilateral cooperative projects. These visits highlighted Taiwan's determination to assist our diplomatic allies to achieve the UN SDGs. At the same time, Taiwan successfully showed the international community our diversified cooperation model based on the "steadfast diplomacy and mutual assistance for mutual benefits" principles, and shared our values of freedom, democracy, and sustainable development. The journey was smooth and quite successful, with many achievements as follows:

During the journey, President Tsai met with President Jovenel Moïse of Haiti, Governor-General Tapley Seaton and Prime Minister Timothy Sylvester Harris of St. Christopher and Nevis, Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Governor-General Emmanuel Neville Cenac and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet of Saint Lucia. During these meetings, the national leaders exchanged views and reached a consensus on matters of mutual concern, including how to enhance bilateral cooperation. The presidents and prime ministers of all our diplomatic allies thanked Taiwan for its long-term assistance in promoting cooperative projects that have improved their people's well-being, and affirmed that they will continue to strengthen diplomatic ties with Taiwan. They also accompanied President Tsai throughout almost all of her itinerary in their respective countries, thus showing how much they valued her visit. These interactions helped to enhance interaction and friendship at the highest level.

During this journey, Governor-General Seaton of Saint Christopher and Nevis conferred upon President Tsai the Order of Saint Christopher and Nevis, that country's highest decoration. This honor was bestowed to recognize President Tsai's outstanding contributions to bilateral ties, and show how much Governor-General Seaton values his country's friendship with Taiwan.


Taiwan and its Caribbean allies are all island nations that face similar opportunities and challenges, and have long cooperated to achieve the UN SDGs. During this journey, President Tsai made on-site visits to better understand the status of cooperative projects that Taiwan and the four host nations are pursuing—in keeping with the spirit of "steadfast diplomacy and mutual assistance for mutual benefits"—to achieve those goals.

For example, to help ensure better health and well-being for people of all ages, the president attended an exhibition of the achievements produced by cooperation between Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and learned about the achievements of the Capacity Building Project for the Prevention and Control of Diabetes. In Saint Lucia, she attended a reconstruction project launch ceremony for St. Jude Hospital.

Another SDG objective is building resilient infrastructure, and in Haiti, President Tsai received a briefing on a bilateral cooperative project to upgrade the domestic power grid. She also attended a groundbreaking ceremony for Pinney's Beach Park Project in St. Christopher and Nevis, and launched the "Intelligent Bus Management and Monitoring System Project for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines" as well as the "Government Island-wide Network (GINet) Project" in Saint Lucia.

In promoting another SDG objective—providing equitable and quality education—President Tsai emphasized to our diplomatic allies that Taiwan will continue to help them develop human resources by providing a variety of scholarships and opportunities to receive technical and vocational education. To address the SDG objective to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture, Taiwan is using its agricultural technology to help St. Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Saint Lucia revitalize their banana industries, develop new international markets, and increase farmers’ incomes. Through these substantive cooperation projects, Taiwan has clearly demonstrated to our diplomatic allies and the entire world our determination to achieve the UN SDGs and contribute to the international community.


President Tsai delivered addresses to parliaments in both St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia. In these addresses, she successfully communicated to diplomatic allies and the entire world three ideas that Taiwan advocates: "sharing Taiwan values like freedom and openness with the world," "resolutely defending democracy," and "promoting international cooperation based on mutual assistance for mutual benefits with sustainable development as the goal." All these points resonated strongly with our diplomatic allies, and we exchanged mutual pledges to work hand-in-hand based on these shared values to promote national sustainable development and the peoples’ well-being.


In each of the countries she visited, when President Tsai met or dined with a president, prime minister, head of parliament, or cabinet head, they all repeatedly reiterated their firm support for Taiwan's right to take part in international bodies, and pledged to continue supporting Taiwan in international venues and working with us to make more substantive contributions to global society.


President Tsai also witnessed the signing of an "Agreement on Cooperation in Technical and Vocational Education and Training between the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Government of St. Christopher and Nevis," an "Agreement on Public Finance Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines," and an "Agreement between the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Combating Transnational Crimes." The first of these agreements will help to enhance the technical and vocational education and training systems in both Taiwan and St. Christopher and Nevis. The second agreement will improve the ability of the governments of Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to cooperate in the fields of fiscal management and taxation, and the third agreement will contribute to the exchange of information and other forms of cooperation in the fight against transnational crime. These agreements show that Taiwan and the other signatories are determined and sincere about expanding diversified cooperation. Notably, Taiwan's agreement with St. Vincent and the Grenadines on combating transnational crimes is the first agreement of this type that Taiwan has ever signed with a foreign government.


Attracting foreign investments and promoting tourism are high priorities for Taiwan's Caribbean allies, so Taiwan invited 17 domestic firms to participate in a Taiwan Product Exhibition in Haiti that our government organized to coincide with the trip. President Tsai and Haitian President Moïse jointly presided over the exhibition's opening ceremony. This trade fair platform spurred increased direct exchanges between business firms from Taiwan and Haiti, and strengthened our economic and trade partnership. Taiwan also sent a tourism industry delegation to explore the travel environment and market trends in St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. They established channels for cooperation with local travel industry firms, spurred further exchanges with the travel industries in our Caribbean allies, and matched up Taiwanese firms with local tourism resources to create win-win cooperation possibilities.


To make the most of this trip and deliver diversified benefits, our government arranged for the Formosa Circus Art group to perform in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The performance combined Taiwanese acrobatics with Western elements along with Hokkien, Hakka, and indigenous tribal songs and dances, showing Taiwan’s blend of ethnicities and diverse cultures. The performance was a big hit with the local audience, and helped familiarize them with Taiwan's rich culture.

Governments in all the countries President Tsai visited also arranged for our delegation to visit important historical and cultural sites including Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the Museum of Nevis History, Hamilton House (the childhood home of American founding father Alexander Hamilton) and the Berkeley Memorial in St. Christopher and Nevis. In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the delegation visited the oldest botanical garden in the Western Hemisphere and enjoyed cultural performances from various countries, thus highlighting the respect for the values of cultural diversity and sustainability that Taiwan and its Caribbean allies share, while spurring increased understanding and friendly people-to-people exchanges.


During this trip, Legislators Kuan Bi-Ling, Lo Chih-Cheng, and Chao Tien-Lin, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang, President Wan-feng Yu of the World Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce, and Chairman Lin Wen-yuan of the Overseas Investment & Development Corp. met respectively with parliamentarians and cabinet heads responsible for economic, trade, and investment matters. In Saint Lucia, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet personally gave a briefing on business opportunities in his country. Some of the aforementioned delegation members also met with the heads of local chambers of commerce. Participants in the above meetings engaged in wide-ranging exchanges of views regarding bilateral parliamentary exchanges, bilateral cooperation, and how to expand economic and trade relations in a collective effort to promote Taiwan's foreign diplomacy, and add to the depth and breadth of bilateral cooperation.

  • US government provided high-level courtesies and treatment, upgrading Taiwan-US ties:
  • The United States government, acting in line with the long-standing principles of "safety, comfort, convenience, and dignity," accorded our delegation high-level treatment in terms of immigration procedures upon entry and exit, as well as security arrangements. When arriving in and departing from New York and Denver, the US government honored established precedent by dispatching American Institute in Taiwan Chairman James F. Moriarty to personally greet the delegation members and accompany them throughout their entire stay, showing that the US values its relationship with Taiwan.
  • President Tsai stayed two nights each in New York and Denver, for a total of four nights in the United States. That is the longest transit stay in the United States by any head of state from Taiwan.
  • During the delegation's transit stops in the United States, the US authorities honored established precedent by allowing our traveling press corps to dispatch reports from the United States. On past overseas trips the president has always held a reception for the travelling press corps in the country of the last diplomatic ally visited. But this time the reception was held during the transit stop in the United States, a significant change of venue.
  • During the stopover in Denver, President Tsai visited the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (under the US Department of Energy) and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research (funded by the US National Science Foundation), both of which are institutions under the federal government. These visits signaled US support for Taiwan in a concrete show of the friendly nature of Taiwan-US relations.
  • President Tsai met with Taiwan's diplomatic allies’ permanent representatives to the United Nations, showing Taiwan's determination to participate in international affairs: During her stopover in New York City, the president attended a reception for permanent representatives to the United Nations from Taiwan's diplomatic allies. At the reception, organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York, the president thanked the permanent representatives for supporting Taiwan in UN venues, and expressed hope that they will continue to support Taiwan at the United Nations this September. This reception marked the first time that the president had ever spoken publicly at a Taiwan representative office in the United States, highlighting the importance that Taiwan's high-level officials place on the permanent UN representatives from Taiwan's diplomatic allies, and showing Taiwan's determination to engage with the international community. Prior to the reception, President Tsai toured the TECO New York office and listened to a briefing from TECO-New York's United Nations Task Force.
  • Promoted Taiwan's economic clout and strengthened substantive Taiwan-US links: During the journey, President Tsai attended a Taiwan-US Business Summit in New York and met over lunch with Colorado business leaders in Denver. The Taiwan-US Business Summit was presided over by Michael Splinter, Chairman of the US-Taiwan Business Council and Chairman of the Board at NASDAQ. Taiwan was represented by Taoyuan City Mayor Cheng Wen-Tsan (鄭文燦), who headed a delegation of some 20 business leaders and trade group representatives, including senior executives from Gogoro and Garmin. Participants at the Business Summit engaged in a lively exchange of views that will help spur further cooperation in the future between Taiwanese and US businesses in areas like supply chains and investments.
  • Cordial interaction with heavyweight members of US Congress, and meetings and discussions with local political leaders:
  • Numerous members of the US Congress took concrete action to express support for Taiwan-US relations. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called President Tsai to deliver special greetings and express support for stronger Taiwan-US relations. Robert Menendez (D-NJ, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and co-chair of the Senate Taiwan Caucus), Eliot Engel (D-NY, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations), Michael McCaul (R-TX, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Relations), Ted Yoho (R-FL, Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific), Steve Chabot (R-OH, Joint Chairman of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus), and Doug Lamborn (R-CO, member of the House of Representatives), all attended banquets and receptions with the local and Taiwanese expatriate communities. Cory Gardner, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, accompanied President Tsai throughout her entire itinerary in Denver.
  • Denver's Deputy Mayor Murphy Robinson met President Tsai at the Denver airport upon her delegation's arrival, and Colorado Governor Jared Polis met with the president at her hotel, and attended a banquet with the local and Taiwanese expatriate communities, showing the close friendship between Taiwan and local US governments.
  • Expatriates welcomed the president warmly, and expatriate banquets were better attended than ever: US local political figures and expatriate communities welcomed President Tsai enthusiastically, and packed the house for banquets attended by the local and Taiwanese expatriate communities. Attendance at a banquet in New York reached 1,100, the biggest expatriate banquet ever during a presidential stopover in the eastern US. During the stopover in Denver, the first-ever by an ROC (Taiwan) president, the president hosted a banquet that was planned for 400 guests, but ended up with a crowd of 680. Attendees included not only expatriates from Colorado, but also many expatriates from other states, clearly showing their deep affection and support for Taiwan.


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