Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) on Monday thanked Palau for being a staunch supporter of Taiwan's efforts to participate in international organizations, at an event to mark the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The decision 20 years ago by then Palau President Kuniwo Nakamura to establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan was a "historic step," and the bilateral partnership has flourished over the past two decades, Chen said at an anniversary luncheon that was hosted by the Taiwan embassy in the Palau capital.
"For two decades, Palau has been our constant companion, becoming one of Taiwan's most faithful Pacific allies," Chen said at the event, which was attended by Palau President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. and senior officials.
Chen expressed gratitude to Palau for its long-standing support of Taiwan's efforts in the international arena and said he hoped the two countries would maintain their close interaction.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) and Palau forged diplomatic ties on Dec. 29, 1999 on the basis of their shared values and common Austronesian cultural heritage, he said.
Taiwan's cooperative projects in the areas of healthcare, agriculture, education and infrastructure have benefited the Palau people over the years, said Chen, who is on a three-day visit to Palau for the 20th anniversary celebrations.
On the international stage, Palau leaders have been supportive of Taiwan's bid for greater participation, most recently at this year's United Nations General Assembly in September, when Remengesau urged all countries to recognize the rights of Taiwan's 23 million people, Chen said.
Chen is scheduled to conclude his three-day-visit and return to Taiwan on Monday night.
Palau is one of 15 countries in the world and one of four in the South Pacific that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.