Monday, April 25, 2011

PM Meets President Ma

President Ma Ying-jeou met on the afternoon of April 20 with Dr. Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), and Mrs. Gonsalves. The president extended a warm welcome to the couple, noting that this is the eighth visit to Taiwan by Prime Minister Gonsalves.

The president remarked that Prime Minister Gonsalves has enormous experience in politics and is highly regarded in SVG. The president praised the prime minister as an outstanding leader in the Caribbean region. SVG and the ROC have maintained diplomatic relations for 30 years and the Caribbean nation is one of the ROC's best friends. SVG has long supported the ROC's participation in international organizations and related activities, for which he specially expressed his deepest appreciation.

President Ma told his guests that since his inauguration in May 2008 he has sought to strengthen cross-strait relations as a means to peace in the Taiwan Strait and greater participation for Taiwan in the international community. Besides solidifying relationships with its allies, the ROC also desires to contribute more to the global community. In the past nearly three years, Taiwan and mainland China have signed 15 agreements, and Taiwan has participated in the World Health Assembly and become party to the Agreement on Government Procurement. In addition, we have sent officials who were more representative of Taiwan to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings. These facts show that improvement in cross-strait relations and greater participation in the international community go hand-in-hand, creating a virtuous cycle, the president remarked.

The president reiterated that the government will continue to promote existing cooperation projects with its allies, and seek to extend or expand them. In line with the ROC's White Paper on Foreign Aid Policy, we are pleased to share our development experience with all of our partners, the president said. Furthermore, in carrying out such projects the ROC will "seek proper goals, act lawfully, and exercise effective administration," thereby helping to strengthen bilateral alliances.

President Ma also commented that the Prime Minister's daughter, Isis Gonsalves, is now studying Chinese in Taiwan. The president stated that the ROC hopes to provide even more Taiwan scholarships to allied nations so that outstanding youth from these countries can come to Taiwan to study in Chinese-based or English-based programs at universities here.

Prime Minister and Mrs. Gonsalves were accompanied to the Presidential Office by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Thomas Ping-Fu Hou to meet President Ma. Also attending the meeting was National Security Council Advisor Tung Kuo-yu.

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