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Taiwan, St. Lucia hoping for closer ties: Legislative Speaker

2019/02/23 16:05:42

St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (left) and Taiwan Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (right) (Image taken from Su's Facebook page)

Taipei, Feb. 23 (CNA) Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), currently on a visit to St. Lucia, has affirmed that Taiwan's relations with the Caribbean island country are strong and could even become closer.

Su wrote on his Facebook page that he and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet discussed cooperation between the two countries at a breakfast meeting Friday and that they both hoped for closer ties in the future.

Su did not elaborate on what closer ties might entail, other than a vague reference to expanding exchanges and cooperation, but he said he had faith in the strong friendship between the two countries because Taiwan and St. Lucia have been true partners in pursuing sustainable development.

The legislative speaker left Taiwan Wednesday for St. Lucia for a seven-day trip as President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) special envoy to celebrations marking its 40th anniversary of independence.

After arriving in St. Lucia on Thursday after a trip of about 30 hours, Su received a warm welcome and a military salute, he said.

He began a series of activities, including meeting Chastanet for breakfast and attending Independence Day celebrations, the next morning.

During the breakfast meeting, Su and Chastanet also talked about mutual investments that could be made to benefit people in both countries, in particular in agricultural technology research, climate change disaster prevention and industrial development, Su wrote.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said earlier this week that Su will also attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the Hewanorra International Airport redevelopment project, which will be financed by a loan from Taiwan.

The Caribbean island country first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984 before it switched recognition to China in 1997.

It then severed ties with Beijing and recognized Taipei again in 2007 and opened its embassy in Taipei in June 2015, making it St. Lucia's first embassy in Asia.

(By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Frances Huang)