Taiwan and Palau on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in Taoyuan to boost bilateral cooperation between their Austronesian ethnic groups.
Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Icyang Parod and Palauan Minister of Human Resources, Culture, Tourism and Development Ngiraibelas Tmetuchl signed the pact at a ceremony witnessed by Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr, who arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday, leading a Palauan delegation for a state visit and to attend yesterday’s Double Ten National Day celebrations.
Lauding his deep ties with Palau, Icyang said he had visited the Pacific country four times and had met with several Palauan delegations on their visits to Taiwan.
Photo: Lee Jung-ping, Taipei Times
Tmetuchl and his tourism development team had also visited indigenous communities in Hualien and Taitung counties to gain an understanding of Taiwan’s policies in promoting aboriginal tourism, Icyang said.
Taiwan’s indigenous peoples, which comprise about 1 percent of the population, are Austronesian, and share ethnic and linguistic ties with other Austronesian people in countries across Southeast Asia and the Pacific, such as Palau.
Bilateral exchanges continued even during the COVID- 19 pandemic, Icyang said, adding that the MOU inked on Sunday would open a window for more comprehensive cooperation between the two countries on the sustainable development of their respective Austronesian communities.
Tmetuchl said that his and Icyang’s government agencies had maintained cooperative ties and engaged in exchanges for more than 10 years and achieving sustainable development for indigenous peoples was of great importance.
He said that through cooperation and exchanges, Palau had a better understanding of how to incorporate indigenous cultures into travel and tourism.
Tmetuchl suggested that developing close ties between indigenous tribal groups in the two countries could be forged through sisterhood ties.
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