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Kittitian PM Drew seeking to build on strong ties with Taiwan

06/22/2024 06:31 PM
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Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrence Drew talks to reporters in Taipei on Saturday. CNA photo June 22, 2024.
Saint Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Terrence Drew talks to reporters in Taipei on Saturday. CNA photo June 22, 2024.

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) The relationship between Taiwan and Saint Kitts and Nevis (SKN) remains strong and will continue to grow under Taiwan's new administration, SKN Prime Minister Terrence Drew said Saturday.

Speaking to reporters shortly after his arrival in Taipei, Drew said one of the main purposes of his current visit to Taiwan is to meet with President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who was sworn in last month, and signal to him that the diplomatic relations between their two countries remain strong.

"I want to really build on that relationship with the new president, so we can make it an even stronger relationship," said Drew, who is leading a delegation of Kittitian officials on his second visit to Taiwan in his capacity as SKN prime minister.

According to the Embassy of St. Kitts and Nevis in Taiwan, Drew is scheduled to meet with Lai on Monday and attend a national banquet hosted by the president, during the 5-day visit.

Drew will also meet with Taiwan's Foreign Minister Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) and travel to Kaohsiung to look at the infrastructure and cultural facilities there, the foreign ministry said.

On the question of whether SKN is being pressured by Beijing to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, Drew told reporters that his country's relationship with Taiwan "is strong and it does not depend on any other factor, so we are not worried about anything else."

He said SKN has been advocating for Taiwan's representation in international organizations because it believes that Taiwan has much to contribute.

The exclusion of Taiwan would mean "losing a partner that can contribute significantly in a positive way," the prime minister added.

For example, he said, Taiwan has effectively tackled sourcing energy and water and the transformation of information technology, which are global issues.

Meanwhile, the threat of climate change and issues relating to acute weather are some of the possible areas in which Taiwan and SKN can build on their current bilateral cooperation, the prime minister said.

Taiwan could help SKN develop the abundant geothermal energy on the island of Nevis and share its experience in developing other renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, under SKN's Sustainable Island State initiative to battle climate change, Drew suggested.

He said that due to rising sea levels caused by climate change, there has been an intrusion of sea water in the wells in the Caribbean country.

As a result, there is a desperate need for desalination facilities, which presents opportunities for Taiwanese businesses, not just in SKN but in other Caribbean countries as well, Drew said.

Investments like that would go a "very long way" and enlarge Taiwan's footprint in a critical region, he added.

(By Sean Lin)

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