St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrance Drew yesterday pledged to use his nation’s influence to speak for Taiwan in the international community, adding that Taiwan can contribute to global efforts to address challenges brought by pandemics and climate change.
“As a true friend, the government of St Kitts and Nevis is always ready to use its influence in international fora to advocate for values and principles which we share with Republic of China [ROC] Taiwan,” Drew told President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) during a military salute ceremony at the National Concert Hall.
“We therefore have no difficulty in promoting our shared values of democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
Photo: Tien Yu-hua, Taipei Times
“We believe firmly that ROC Taiwan has a role to play in sustaining a vibrant global economy through manufacturing and export of quality goods and services. Taiwan can also contribute to the global effort to find solutions to pandemics, climate change adaptation and mitigation endeavors, disaster preparedness, food and livelihood security,” he added.
Drew is on his first state visit after winning an election in August.
He said that the visit is significant, as it “strengthens the solid platform built for well over three decades, which allows us to implement projects under the broad rubric of functional cooperation.”
Drew also thanked Taiwan for providing scholarships to students from the Caribbean nation to pursue their education here, many of whom have returned home and continued to contribute to national development.
“While other countries are endowed with rich mineral resources, our people are our resources. It is therefore prudent for us to continually strive for our human-resource capacity. We are eternally grateful to the government and people of the ROC Taiwan for the valuable assistance in achieving this objective,” he said.
“We are equally grateful for the assistance we received in agriculture, healthcare, public infrastructure, information and communication technology, and environmental conservation, just to name a few,” he added.
As St Kitts and Nevis is to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its independence, which coincides with 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations, Drew said that officials from the two sides should discuss ways to celebrate the milestone.
Tsai told Drew that her administration is looking forward to addressing issues of mutual interest and exchanging opinions related to these issues during his visit.
“In particular, we believe that Taiwan can provide the best experiences of medicine and health insurance, which are issues of significant interest to Prime Minister Drew,” she said.
Tsai hosted a banquet for Drew and his delegation after the ceremony.
After a tropical storm alert was issued in St Kitts and Nevis, Tsai said she hoped that all is well and that Taiwan would be ready to offer assistance if needed.
Tsai told the delegation that she was impressed by the natural scenery during her visit to the Caribbean nation three years ago, adding that a group of Taiwanese tour operators were also there to scout potential tour routes.
“The international travel market has been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years. However, Taiwan reopened its borders and waived quarantine requirements last month, making it easy for people to travel,” she said. “I hope our two countries can continue to deepen cooperation by jointly stimulating growth in the tourism industry — more Taiwanese get to see the beautiful scenery in the Caribbean Sea, and we welcome people in St Kitts and Nevis to visit Taiwan as well.”
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