Six of Taiwan’s South Pacific allies to attend Flora Expo

By Joseph Yeh, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Foreign dignitaries from six of Taiwan’s South Pacific allies, including three heads of states, will be visiting the Taipei International Flora Expo which is slated to kick off next month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday. “The visiting guests include three presidents, a governor general, a vice president and a deputy prime minister,” said Ger Baushuan, deputy director general of MOFA’s Department of East-Asian and Pacific Affairs yesterday in a press conference. They are Marcus Stephen, president of the Republic of Nauru and his wife; Johnson Toribiong, president of the Republic of Palau; Jurelang Zedkaia, president of the Marshall Islands; Iakoba Italeli, governor general of Tuvalu; Teima Onorio, vice president of the Republic of Kiribati; and Manasseh Maelanga, deputy prime minister of the Solomon Islands, he noted. Foreign Minister Timothy Yang previously told the legislature that at least four to five heads of state of Taiwan’s ally nations in Latin America have also accepted the invitation to visit the expo once it opens next month.

Meanwhile, MOFA announced in a press release yesterday that Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli has arrived in Taiwan for a three-day state visit. Martinelli is the first president from Panama to visit Taiwan in six years, according to the MOFA. The 58-year-old president is leading a delegation which includes Vice President Juan Carlos Varela, who also serves as the Central American country’s foreign minister, and Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries Jose Domingo Arias. The delegation is scheduled to meet President Ma Ying-jeou, Foreign Minister Yang, Mainland Affairs Council Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan and other government officials, as well as local businessmen, the MOFA said. The delegation will also visit the Flora Expo, which is now on a trial run, as well as the Nangang Software Park.