Marshall Islands president calls Taiwan visit ‘impressive’, ‘astonishing’

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Taipei, March 25 (CNA) Visiting Marshall Islands President David Kabua called his state visit to Taiwan “impressive” and “astonishing,” according to his foreign minister on Friday.

Quoting Kabua’s words at a press conference in Taipei to wrap up his five-day state visit, the country’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Casten Nemra said the delegation was particularly impressed with the ability of Taiwan to maintain strong economic growth in difficult times.

“Taiwan’s economy continues to grow impressively and amazingly despite the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said, praising the Taiwanese government’s leadership and society.

During the state visit – Kabua’s first foreign engagement since taking office in January 2020 – the two countries had “productive conversations” involving both the public and private sectors, according to Nemra.

These exchanges have helped strengthen bilateral ties, Nemra said, adding that the country is proud of the diplomatic ties it forged with Taiwan 24 years ago.

“We want to deepen, expand and find opportunities to (improve relations), not just government-to-government, but also people-to-people,” Nemra said.

The Marshall Islands will also remain committed to supporting Taiwan’s sovereignty and international inclusion, including its participation in the World Health Organization, Nemra said.

When asked if the Marshall Islands had a message about China’s growing influence in the Western Pacific, Nemra said he couldn’t say whether it was right or wrong because China had its own strategy.

What the Marshall Islands is certain of is that it will continue to work closely with Taiwan and the United States on economic and security issues, he said.

While the Marshall Islands is open to doing business with China and other countries, “I need to be clear that when it comes to diplomatic relations, we know where we stand,” Nemra said.

President Kabua and his delegation, who arrived in Taiwan on March 21, met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and other government officials and private sector representatives during their holiday.

The Marshall Islands is one of Taiwan’s 14 diplomatic allies. The two countries have maintained official diplomatic relations since 1998.

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