This is my first visit to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). I want to thank the Prime Minister [Ralph Gonsalves] and the Speaker [Jomo Thomas] for offering me this opportunity to address your House of Assembly on behalf of the people of Taiwan.
I also want to congratulate your country on being elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Promoting world peace and security in this important international body is a high honor, and a great achievement. As longtime allies, we share in your pride.
I have always admired your country's willingness to speak up on the international stage, especially on key issues like climate change and sustainable development.
Although Taiwan is not a member of the UN, we have always been a responsible member of the international community. Like you, we are dedicated to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and submit voluntary national reviews. We are keen to cooperate with international partners, because climate change is a global issue that requires global cooperation.
And in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, we have created an important model that sets the standard for sustainable cooperation.
Our "banana revitalization project" is helping achieve food security, ensuring access to nutritious foods, and fostering sustainable agriculture. I know that bananas have been a cornerstone of your country's economy. Using Taiwan's strength in agricultural technology, we will revitalize the banana industry in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Taiwan's Mackay Memorial Hospital is also working to promote health and well-being in your country by jointly implementing a Capacity Building Project to prevent and control diabetes. We are equipping local medical personnel with stronger care capabilities, and teaching the public about diabetes prevention, care, and self-management. Together, we are giving people the ability to take charge of their own health.
Our joint Intelligent Bus Management & Monitoring System Project exemplifies our commitment to resilient infrastructure. With this project, we will establish the first smart transportation system in the Caribbean right here in Saint Vincent, and help Vincentians make better use of public transportation.
We are also working hard to cultivate human capital. Each year, we award scholarships for outstanding local students to study in Taiwan, ensuring their equal access to high-quality education. Graduates bring crucial knowledge and skills back to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and apply what they've learned to give back to their communities.
We also offer local training courses in the food and beverage, tourism, plumbing, and electrical repair industries. Students can quickly gain practical job skills, and make crucial contributions to the Vincentian economy.
At noon today, I had the chance to meet with representatives from the Taiwan alumni association here. We were joined by 16 students who will soon embark on their journey to an advanced degree in Taiwan. I am delighted, and proud, that Taiwan is doing our part to cultivate talent here.
Through everything that we do together, I want your people, and the world, to see that we can contribute more to the world—and that we are determined to do so.
So on behalf of the people of Taiwan, I want to take this opportunity to thank Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for your long-term support for our international participation, and for speaking up on our behalf.
At last year's UN General Assembly General Debate, Prime Minister Gonsalves said it best. He said: "There is simply no principled basis to deny Taiwan the right to participate in the work of the specialized agencies of the United Nations."
We also have another supportive friend here with us today, the Honourable Mr. [Robert] Browne, Minister of Health and the Environment. He has quite a following in Taiwan. Last May at the World Health Assembly, Minister Browne said that the interests of Taiwan's 23 million people should not be held ransom by political preferences. His courageous words have stayed with me to this day.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has always been a loyal ally, and a close partner. We share a common vision for universal human rights. So I hope that you will continue to support Taiwan in the international arena as we work together to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and make our world a better place for future generations.
Finally, I'd like to thank all the Members of the House of Assembly for your decision to establish an embassy in Taiwan. The people of Taiwan welcome you with open arms. I am confident this new embassy will lead to new opportunities for cooperation, and even stronger friendship between our countries.
I look forward to your continued support in the international arena, and for continued strength in our partnership. As we face the challenges that lie ahead, may our countries prosper, and our alliance endure.