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Taiwan, Palau sign sea patrol cooperation pact

2019/03/22 23:17:10

Koror, Palau, March 22 (CNA) Taiwan and its Pacific ally, Palau, signed an agreement on Friday to cooperate in sea patrols and under this new pact, they will launch a joint rescue drill on the seas close to Palau this weekend.

The accord was signed by Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) and Palau Vice President Raynold Oilouch in the presence of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her Palau counterpart Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. at a state banquet for Tsai.

Tsai is in the island nation on the first leg of a visit to three of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Pacific region.

Under the new pact, Taiwan's 1,800-tonne Hsun Hu No. 7 patrol frigate will participate in a joint marine patrol exercise with Palau's vessels on Saturday, said Coast Guard Administration (CGA) Director-General Chen Guo-en (陳國恩), a member of Tsai's entourage.

With the sea patrol cooperation accord, the two countries will also join hands to fight cross-border maritime crimes and protect each other's fishing boats, Chen said.

Thanks to the cooperation, Taiwanese patrol boats will also be able to dock in Palau to supplement their supplies during missions on the high sea, Chen said, adding that in the future, the two nations will also conduct training and exchanges of sea patrol personnel.

Saturday's drill, which will focus on marine rescue operations, will be the first of its kind between Taiwan and Palau, CGA Fleet Branch head Hsieh Ching-chin (謝慶欽) said.

Tsai will stay in Palau until Saturday, after which she will head to Nauru for a visit on Sunday and Monday, before arriving in the Marshall Islands on Tuesday to attend the first Pacific Women Leaders' Coalition Conference.

This is the sixth overseas trip Tsai has taken since coming into office in May 2016.

The three Pacific nations are among Taiwan's 17 remaining diplomatic allies.

(By Wen Kui-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu)