Taipei, Dec. 28 (CNA) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) departed for Palau on Saturday afternoon to attend celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Pacific nation.
Palau is one of 15 countries in the world and one of four in the South Pacific that have maintained a formal relationship with Taiwan at a time when China has tried to poach Taiwan's allies.
Before boarding his plane, Chen said Taiwan and Palau have established strong ties with each other in a wide range of areas such as education and agriculture.
"This year marks the 20th anniversary of official diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the Republic of Palau, which began on Dec. 29, 1999," said Chen, who will return to Taiwan on Dec. 30.
"Since then, we have maintained close, friendly, and stable diplomatic relations. We have also cooperated closely on health care, agriculture, education, and infrastructure projects, with outstanding results."
Among the achievements he cited was setting up reciprocal visa-free entry for citizens of Taiwan and Palau in December 2018.
Visitors from the Pacific ally now can get visa-free stays of up to 90 days in Taiwan and vice versa.
In March, the two countries signed an agreement to cooperate on sea patrols near Palau, and Taiwan sent the 1,800-tonne Hsun Hu No. 7 patrol frigate later that month to participate in a joint marine patrol exercise.
Palau has also voiced strong support for Taipei's international participation on many occasions, including at the United Nations General Assembly, despite China's opposition.
While in Palau, Chen will attend a special banquet in celebration of the 20th anniversary of bilateral ties and visit Taiwan's agricultural missions there and the sites of some projects being carried out with assistance from Taiwan, the MOFA said.