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PRESIDENT TSAI OFFICIALLY WELCOMES SVG PRIME MINISTER RALPH GONSALVES WITH MILITARY HONORS

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President Tsai Ing-wen officially welcomed Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the morning of August 8 with full military honors. In remarks, President Tsai emphasized that ever since the Republic of China (Taiwan) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines established diplomatic ties in 1981, our two countries have supported each other and maintained comprehensive and wide-ranging cooperation, despite constant changes to the international landscape. The president said she looks forward to our two sides exchanging opinions on issues of mutual interest in order to further strengthen our bilateral relationship.

The welcome ceremony began at 10:30 a.m. in the plaza fronting the Presidential Office. President Tsai and Prime Minister Gonsalves each delivered remarks after a 19-gun salute, the playing of the two countries’ national anthems, and a review of the military honor guard. 

A translation of the president’s remarks follows:

Today, we greet Prime Minister Gonsalves with our grandest display of military honors. On behalf of the people and government of Taiwan, I extend my warmest welcome to the prime minister and all the members of his delegation.

Prime Minister Gonsalves is a close and dear friend of Taiwan. It is a pleasure to once again meet with the prime minister in person. This is his 12th visit to Taiwan and 11th in his capacity as prime minister, clearly demonstrating the importance that he attaches to the diplomatic relations between our countries. In particular, Prime Minister Gonsalves has expressed in recent days that the Chinese military drills would not prevent him from visiting friends in Taiwan. This statement left us deeply moved.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines established diplomatic ties in 1981. Ever since then, our two countries have supported each other and maintained wide-ranging, fruitful cooperation, despite a constantly changing international landscape.

During this visit, we look forward to sharing with Prime Minister Gonsalves the latest developments in Taiwan, and to our two sides conducting in-depth exchanges on issues of mutual interest in order to further strengthen our bilateral cooperation.

Prime Minister Gonsalves then delivered remarks, a transcript of which follows:

I’m very elated to be here again with our friends in Taiwan, and particularly at this very challenging moment for the government and people of Taiwan.

Our friendship has been forged over the last 41 years on the basis of factors which predispose us and those which induce us to close friendship.

We are island nations. We share common values of the protection and promotion of democracy and human rights.

In the global system, we believe strongly in defending our sovereignty and independence, non-interference and non-intervention in our internal affairs, and the peaceful settlement of disputes.

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Metaphorically, these principles and ideals are in our DNA. They are noises in our blood. They are echoes in our bones. These principles and ideas are existential to all beings.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) has built a magnificent component and a legitimate political expression of the Chinese civilization – a civilization which is 6,000 years or so old, and a civilization of nobility.

The Republic of China (Taiwan), from its shared experiences in this Chinese civilization, has provided a conscious expression of the best in that civilization.

Accordingly, as in our own hemisphere, the Western Hemisphere, we do not like it and we do not support it when any powerful neighbor seeks to intimidate us or bully us. Wherever there are differences, we must settle them peacefully in a civilized manner.

I am so impressed with this country. You have built it from essentially ruins to be a shining example, a beacon of prosperity, of democracy, of human rights, and of peace.

I thank the government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for your kind assistance during the COVID [pandemic] and the volcanic eruptions which affected us.

I am here, therefore, to express our solidarity with you, to say thanks, and to work further at strengthening our bilateral relations and to be in quest of peace, security, and prosperity for all.

And finally, I give thanks for the strength of this remarkable woman, the president of this exceptional country.

May Almighty God continue to imbue you with wisdom and courage to lead your people consonant with their demands, their requirements, and their aspirations.

I am honored that you consider me your friend, and that you consider St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be a close ally. I thank you.

Also in attendance at the welcome ceremony were Vice President Lai Ching-te, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), Secretary-General to the President David T. Lee (李大維), National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo (顧立雄), Examination Yuan Vice President Chou Hung-Hsien (周弘憲), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), National Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正), Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮),  Minister of Justice Tsai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥), Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-Yuan (薛瑞元), Minister of Culture Lee Yung-te (李永得), Minister without Portfolio and Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠), Ocean Affairs Council Minister Lee Chung-wei (李仲威), St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador Andrea Clare Bowman, Ambassador to St. Vincent and the Grenadines Peter Sha-li Lan (藍夏禮), and members of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan.

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