Tuvaluan Prime Minister Kausea Natano yesterday visited the Council of Indigenous Peoples and invited the council to establish a branch of the Austronesian Forum in Tuvalu.
Speaking at the council’s headquarters in New Taipei City’s Sinjhuang District (新莊), Natano said that Tuvaluans share many cultural values in common with Taiwan’s indigenous people.
Having visited Taiwan years ago when he was a member of Tuvalu’s parliament, Natano said he was happy to be visiting again in his capacity as prime minister.
Photo: Liu Hsin-te, Taipei Times
He invited Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod to visit Tuvalu, and expressed the hope that the Austronesian Forum, which is headquartered in Palau, could set up a branch in Tuvalu.
The administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) resolved in 2018 to restart the Austronesian Forum — which had been inactive for several years — with a six-year plan from 2020 to 2025, Icyang said.
Natano thanked the council for continually assisting the Pacific island nations, including the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu; hosting a delegation of Tuvaluan women on a cultural exchange; and providing Tuvalu with a US$30,000 fund to stimulate cultural industries there.
Taiwan has also agreed to provide funds to assist Pacific island nations to combat climate change through participation in programs under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, he said.
Tuvalu and other nations would bring their concerns to the UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November, he said.
Icyang said he was very thankful that Natano had adjusted his “already tight schedule” to make time for a visit to the council before leaving Taiwan.
He also thanked Natano for speaking about the customs and traditions that Tuvaluans and Taiwan’s indigenous people share during a speech after Tsai welcomed him with military honors on Monday.
“The customs and traditions of our peoples are commonalities that form the cornerstone of the friendship between our two countries,” he said.
Icyang also placed an alofo, an Amis sash, on Natano, and said he hoped Natano would have the chance to participate in an Amis ritual in the future.
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