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President Tsai and President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau hold bilateral talks, witness the signing of bilateral agreements

TAIWAN, October 6 - President Tsai and President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau hold bilateral talks, witness the signing of bilateral agreements

President Tsai and President Surangel Whipps Jr. of Palau hold bilateral talks, witness the signing of bilateral agreements

On the morning of October 6, after welcoming President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. of Palau and his delegation with military honors, President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by Vice President Lai Ching-te, joined President Whipps for bilateral talks and to witness the signing of bilateral cooperation agreements. In remarks, President Tsai thanked President Whipps for calling on the international community at last year's United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to support Taiwan's United Nations participation, and expressed hope that our nations will expand our cooperation to advance regional prosperity and development and serve as a key stabilizing force throughout the Asia-Pacific.

A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:

On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I would like to first convey our sincere congratulations to Palau on its Independence Day this past Saturday. I also extend a very cordial welcome to President Whipps, who is leading this delegation to attend our National Day celebrations. Your presence demonstrates the strong friendship between our countries.

In April, Palau held the 2022 Our Ocean Conference. I thank President Whipps for kindly inviting Taiwan to participate in the event and for warmly receiving our special envoy's delegation. During the conference, Taiwan shared its experience in combating climate change and discussed solutions with other countries from around the globe. Together, Taiwan and Palau showed the world our determination to safeguard ocean sustainability.

Our nations enjoy strong cooperation in many other areas aside from climate change. For example, our technical mission is helping Palau develop its agriculture and fisheries sectors through horticulture, animal husbandry, and aquaculture projects. Taiwan has also provided scholarships to encourage Palauan students to study and participate in exchanges in Taiwan.

In recent years, Palau has continued to voice support for Taiwan's international participation. During last year's UNGA, President Whipps called on the international community to act like the surgeonfish of Palau in coming together to collectively support Taiwan's inclusion in the United Nations. At this year's UNGA, Palau's Minister of State Gustav Aitaro also recognized Taiwan's contributions to the international community and called on the United Nations to include Taiwan.

We are deeply touched and sincerely grateful to Palau for its support. In a moment, we will witness the signing of bilateral agreements and letters of intent to further deepen cooperation in the fields of finance, tourism, and aquaculture. 

I look forward to broadening our cooperation with the assistance and backing of President Whipps and the members of his delegation. Together, let our nations advance prosperity and development in the region and serve as a key stabilizing force throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Thank you!

In his own remarks, President Whipps first conveyed his warm greetings from Palau, and noted that this past October 1, the 28th anniversary of Palau's independence, marked another year for Palau to participate in the global group of nations as a sovereign nation.  

President Whipps pointed out that it is Palau's duty to do all it can to support the Republic of China (Taiwan) in joining international organizations like the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), World Health Organization (WHO), and UN, because Taiwan plays an important part in addressing climate change and health issues, and has experience that should be shared with the world.

Quoting the preamble of Palau's constitution, which reads, "We renew our dedication to preserve and enhance our traditional knowledge, our national identity, and our respect for peace, freedom, and justice for all mankind," President Whipps noted that Taiwan's constitution reflects the firm foundations of its government, its resilient people, and its vibrant economy. He observed that both our countries' constitutions are built to safeguard the rights and promote the welfare of our peoples while ensuring social tranquility.

Listing education, culture, freedom of speech and religion, human dignity, peace, and the safety of our people as some of the values that sit at the heart of our countries' democratic governments, President Whipps also offered his best wishes on behalf of the people of Palau to President Tsai and the people of the Republic of China (Taiwan) on the occasion of its National Day on October 10.

President Whipps stated that throughout our countries' nearly 23-year alliance, Taiwan has been Palau's strongest partner. He recalled that when Palau was hit by three typhoons in the past 10 years after previously seeing none at all, Taiwan was first to help rebuild, and noted that when COVID first started, Taiwan was also first to lend aid, sending medical supplies to Palau via a fishing boat.

Recognizing the help given by the Republic of China (Taiwan) toward Palau's development in healthcare, education, infrastructure, and agriculture and fisheries, President Whipps added that he and his delegation are honored to be here to hold discussions and meetings, in hopes of further deepening our relationship and building on the partnership we have established over the past 23 years.

Noting that our biggest challenge now is getting our economies back on track, President Whipps thanked President Tsai for her leadership, including in establishing the Taiwan-Palau travel bubble, the first of its kind in our region. 

President Whipps said he was excited to know that Taiwan will further reduce travel restrictions on October 13, and said Palau is looking forward to welcoming many travelers from the Republic of China (Taiwan), with COVID having interrupted our important people-to-people exchanges. He concluded his remarks by expressing his hope to further promote and strengthen our countries' relationship. 

After the conclusion of the bilateral talks, President Tsai and President Whipps jointly witnessed the signing of the Agreement on Public Finance Cooperation by Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong (蘇建榮) and Palau Minister of Finance Kaleb Udui Jr., the Agreement Concerning the Acceptance of Seagoing Service, Education and Training of Seafarers and the Letter of Intent for Tourism Revitalization by Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) and Palau Minister of State Aitaro, and the Letter of Intent for Aquaculture Development Cooperation by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Palau Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Environment Steven Victor. 

Among the members of the delegation were Palau Minister of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism and Development Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl, Council of Chiefs Representative Ngirturong John Sugiyama, Chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means and Financial Matters Committee Rukebai Kikuo Inabo, and Chairwoman of the House of Delegates Health, Social and Cultural Affairs Committee Victoria N. Kanai. The delegation was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Palau Ambassador David Adams Orrukem.