ROC National Day trip a demonstration of strong ties: Palau president
Taipei, Oct. 5 (CNA) Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. on Wednesday said his ongoing Taiwan visit to attend celebrations for the Republic of China (ROC) National Day was a demonstration of the strong partnership between the two allies.
Upon his arrival at the Taoyuan International Airport, Whipps Jr. told the awaiting press and a group of Taiwanese officials led by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) that he was excited to be back in Taiwan, "it feels like coming home."
The Palauan leader last visited the country in March 2021 to launch a travel bubble between the two given the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had then prevented regular international travel.
Though the bubble plan did not work out as planned, the Palauan president said he was confident that international travel would soon return to pre-COVID levels, adding that his country would again welcome Taiwanese visitors.
Whipps and his delegation arrived in Taiwan to attend Oct. 10 celebrations marking the 1911 Wuchang Uprising, which led to the overthrow of China's last imperial dynasty and the establishment of the ROC.
He is also invited to speak at this year's Taipei-based Yushan Forum on its opening day on Friday, where he will deliver a speech based on the forum's theme, "Revitalizing, Reorienting, and Reconnecting."
According to Whipps Jr., his visit is a "demonstration of our strong partnership and our relationship."
"Palau is fortunate to have such a strong friend that has helped us through our most difficult times," Whipps Jr. said.
Whipps Jr. expressed his gratitude toward the Taiwan government for making sure flights between the two countries were kept going so that patients in Palau could come to Taiwan for medical treatment.
He added that the flights and the provision of medical care had been critical to the well-being of his people.
With his country having just marked the 28th year of independence from the United States on Sept. 30, Whipps Jr. said it was important that both Taiwan and Palau continue to celebrate and protect freedom.
"Because we believe in a free and open Indo-Pacific, and that we should all work together for peace and prosperity around the world," he added.
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