Foreign minister to attend inauguration of Palau's new president

01/12/2021 09:10 PM
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Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 12 (CNA) Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) will attend the upcoming inauguration of Palau's President-elect Surangel Whipps Jr. on Jan. 21, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.

Wu will travel to the Pacific ally Jan. 20 and return two days later, ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said at a regular press briefing in Taipei.

Given the strong friendship between Taiwan and the Pacific island nation, which has not recorded a single coronavirus case to date, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) appointed Wu to head Taiwan's delegation to the inauguration of the new president and vice president, Ou said.

According to a separate MOFA news release, Wu will meet with outgoing Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr., Whipps and the nation's new Vice President J. Uduch Sengebau Senior, Palau's Senate president and speaker of the House of Delegates, among others.

He will also inspect the implementation of major bilateral cooperation programs, the ministry added.

The delegation will observe strict COVID-19 prevention measures throughout the three-day visit, the ministry said, without further elaboration.

Tsai announced Wu's visit via a video call with Whipps on Tuesday while congratulating the president-elect on his election victory.

The president said she was deeply honored to be the sole foreign head of state invited to attend the event, but because of pressing matters of state will be unable to do so, according to a news release from the Office of the President.

On the bilateral medical cooperation front, Tsai said Taiwan's medical team in Palau is assisting local pandemic prevention efforts, adding that Taipei has also donated masks and coronavirus testing equipment to the island nation and sent charter flights to transport patients seeking off-island medical treatment to Taiwan.

In return, Whipps said Palau appreciated Taiwan's contribution to its successful pandemic response and added that he hopes to meet personally with Tsai in the near future to continue discussions on deepening the Taiwan-Palau bilateral alliance, the office said.

Palau, one of the nation's 15 remaining diplomatic allies, has had official ties with Taiwan since 1999.

(By Matt Yu, Wen Kuei-hsiang and Chung Yu-chen)

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