Taipei, June 19 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Tuesday expressed gratitude to Belize and Saint Lucia, two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, for their support of Taiwan's efforts to expand its international participation.
While receiving a delegation of Belizean parliamentarians at the Presidential Office, Tsai said Belize President Dean Barrow has been firm in his support of Taiwan's bid to gain greater international participation and has maintained long-term bilateral exchanges with Taiwan.
Belize has spoken up in favor of Taiwan's inclusion in major international organizations and events, including the World Health Assembly (WHA), the International Civil Aviation Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Tsai noted.
She said that since she took office in 2016, Taiwan and Belize have stepped up exchange visits by high-level government officials, while Belize has participated in several food exhibitions in Taiwan.
The current visit by Belize Speaker of the House of Representatives Laura Tucker-Longsworth, Senate President Lee Mark Chang and Senator Stephen A. Duncan is indicative of the importance of parliamentary diplomacy between the two countries, Tsai said.
She said she was grateful for Belize's support and felt that the delegation's current visit would help strengthen bilateral ties.
At another event at the Presidential Office, Tsai expressed similar sentiments regarding St. Lucia, which recently appointed Edwin Laurent as its new ambassador to Taiwan.
At a meeting in which Laurent presented his credentials to Tsai, she thanked the Caribbean country for its long-term support of Taiwan's efforts at international participation.
Tsai noted that St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has voiced support for Taiwan's international presence at the United Nations General Assembly and has urged the UNFCCC to allow Taiwan to attend its meetings.
In addition, St. Lucia sent a letter to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, asking that Taiwan be allowed to participate in the WHA as an observer, Tsai said.
She welcomed Laurent, an experienced diplomat, to Taiwan and said his appointment symbolized his country's high regard for its friendship and diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Tsai asked Laurent to convey Taiwan's gratitude to Chastanet for his support.
Taiwan was excluded from the annual WHA meeting in 2018 for the second consecutive year and has been battling to gain greater international space against strong efforts at suppression by China.