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Chen thanks Tuvalu for support of Taiwan

Published: March 4, 2003
Source: Central News Agency

resident Chen Shui-bian said on Tuesday that the Taiwan government and its people appreciate Tuvalu's staunch support of Taiwan's bid to join United Nations and other international organizations.

Chen made the comments while meeting with Tuvaluan Prime Minister and concurrent Foreign Minister Saufatu Sopoanga, who arrived in Taipei last Saturday for a six-day official visit.

"We are grateful that you have on many international occasions spoken for our national cause, including joining the United Nations, the World Health Organization and other world bodies," Chen told his guest.

Despite their geographic distance from each other, Chen said, Taiwan and Tuvalu have enjoyed a cordial relationship since they established formal diplomatic ties in 1979.

"We enjoy a solid friendship because we have shared values of freedom, democracy and human rights," he added.

Chen said he was glad that Tuvalu became the 189th U.N. member in September 2000.

Because of Beijing's opposition, he went on, Taiwan is still shut out of the United Nations. "We are hopeful that Tuvalu will continue to support our U.N. bid."

Chen said he is satisfied that various cooperative projects between the two countries, including fishery cooperation, have all proceeded smoothly.

Taiwan has offered aid to help Tuvalu construct a central government office building. "It will be the highest and most expensive building in Tuvalu. I hope construction on the building will kick off in March as scheduled," Chen said. The building is scheduled for inauguration in April 2004.

Sopoanga is accompanied by his wife and several senior Tuvaluan officials. During their stay, they will meet with Taiwanese officials and visit the Navy Headquarters, the Asian Vegetable Research Center and other economic and cultural institutions.