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President Tsai pledges to boost Taiwan-Belize cooperation

2018/08/18 14:04:13

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, center)/CNA file photo

Belize City, Aug. 17 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who was on the sixth day of her nine-day overseas trip, promised to deepen Taiwan's cooperation with its Central American ally Belize in various fields, including education, economy, agriculture and infrastructure when speaking at the National Assembly on Friday.

In her address, Tsai announced that Taiwan will increase the number of Taiwan scholarship students from Belize and will invite young Belizeans for short-term vocational training programs in Taiwan.

For those who are not able to go to Taiwan, the country will work with Belize's Institute for Technical, Vocational and Educational Training to improve the quality of local vocational education for the younger generation in Belize so that they will be better prepared for the job market, Tsai said.

In terms of the economy, President Tsai mentioned a delegation of Taiwan's largest cocoa and coffee purchasers who visited Belize earlier this year. She promised to keep encouraging more delegations from Taiwan's business sector to visit the Central American country and develop further trade relationships with the cocoa and coffee industries in Belize.

While looking for potential business opportunities with Belize, Taiwan is also engaging with Belizean farmers to "introduce new agricultural produce and improve breeds for livestock," the president said.

The bilateral ties between Taiwan and Belize will also be enhanced via Taiwan's Official Development Assistance Program, Tsai noted. The program will assist Belize in improving its infrastructure, including the construction of new roads and hospitals, according to Tsai.

In addition to education, economy, agriculture and infrastructure, Taiwan's longstanding friendship with Belize is manifested by the country's dedication to helping its ally provide medical care and restore its cultural heritage, Tsai said.

Health practitioners from Taiwan have been endeavoring to strengthen the capabilities of the Belize Health Information System, Tsai said.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Technical Mission has been in cooperation with its Belizean partners for the restoration of local cultural heritage, including the revitalization of some historical quarters, according to the president.

"The friendship between Taiwan and Belize is not built on empty promises or the political whims of our leadership. This is a friendship that, for the past 29 years, has led to results; results that have benefited people across both our countries," Tsai concluded.

Tsai also gave a veiled warning about China's attempts to woo away Taiwan's remaining 18 allies, including Belize.

Regarding countries that intend to "seek to do harm to this relationship" with "empty promises," the president quoted a Belizean proverb to express her opinion: "No ebery ting, weh gat sugah sweet" (Not everything that has sugar is sweet).

(By Yeh Su-ping and Hsu Hsiao-ling)