Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) Taiwan on Monday congratulated Marshall Islands President-elect David Kabua on his victory in a parliamentary vote earlier in the day and said the new leader was supportive of his country's diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Taiwan Ambassador to the Marshall Islands Jeffrey Hsiao (蕭勝中) conveyed the congratulatory message to Kabua, who will take office soon for a four-year term, according to a press release by Taiwan;s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
In a meeting with Kabua, the ambassador said Taiwan's Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) will soon lead a delegation to the Marshall Islands to congratulate the new president and his Cabinet members in person, MOFA said.
According to MOFA, Kabua assured Hsiao of his strong support for continued diplomatic relations with Taiwan and expressed thanks for the assistance his country has received from Taiwan over the years.
Kabua said his administration will continue to work closely with its Taiwanese counterpart to deepen bilateral relations, MOFA said.
On Monday, the ROC (Taiwan) Embassy in the Marshall Islands tweeted a photo showing Kabua posing with Hsiao, and the American and Japanese ambassadors to the Marshall Islands, not long after he was elected president in a parliamentary vote Monday.
Kabua, a former cabinet minister who is the son of his country's first President Amata Kabua, won the vote 20-12 with one abstention, according to a Radio New Zealand report Monday.
A veteran politician, Kabua previously served as minister of health and internal affairs.
The Marshall Islands president is usually inaugurated within a week of being elected, once they have picked their Cabinet, the RNZ report said.
Taiwan, which forged diplomatic relations with the Marshall Islands in 1998, had been paying close attention to the presidential vote in the Pacific island nation and what it might mean for the bilateral ties.
Last year, Taiwan lost two Pacific allies, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, to China, shrinking its diplomatic partners in the Pacific region to four and worldwide to 15.