Taiwan to give visa waivers to six Pacific allies: president

President Tsai Ing-wen interacts with a food vendor selling Taiwan shaved ice in Marshall Islands on Oct. 31, 2017. The president announced Tuesday that Taiwan will soon give visa waivers to the nationals of its six diplomatic allies in the Pacific. (CNA)

MAJURO, The Marshall Islands (CNA) – President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced Tuesday that Taiwan will soon give visa waivers to the nationals of its six diplomatic allies in the Pacific.

Making the announcement during her address to the Legislature of the Marshall Islands, Tsai said she believed the decision will further enhance Taiwan’s relations with these Pacific nations, which also include Kiribati, Nauru, the Solomon Islands, Palau, and Tuvalu.

The president said her administration’s “steadfast diplomacy” policy, with a focus on “mutual assistance for mutual benefits,” is aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation and substantial ties with Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to develop relationships that are reciprocal and mutually beneficial.

Taiwan has taken steps to enhance its exchanges with the Marshall Islands, such as in the area of education, she said, noting that a Taiwan-Marshall Islands presidential scholarship program was officially launched Monday.

She said Taiwan also attaches great importance to sustainable development and is committed to helping the Marshall Islands promote food security and healthy diets, with considerable progress having been made on farming and animal husbandry.

Taiwan’s agriculture technical corps there, for example, has provided swine breeding stock for free to local farmers and has trained seed instructors who are responsible for teaching pig-raising skills and knowledge to the farmers, she said.

In addition, Taiwan has helped the Marshall Islands build “green farms,” where waste produced on the farms is recycled and reused, she said.

She also assured the Marshall Islands that it will always have Taiwan’s support in the fight against climate change.

The president, meanwhile, mentioned the Austronesian culture shared by both countries.

She noted that Council of Indigenous Peoples chief Icyang Parod and indigenous Legislator Kolas Yotaka are among the members of her delegation, hoping to deepen mutual exchanges and understanding using Austronesian culture as a medium.

Tsai is in the Marshall Islands after a two-night stay in Hawaii, and she will next visit Tuvalu and the Solomon Islands before another stop in U.S. territory, in Guam, on Nov. 3. She will return to Taiwan the next day. 

By Lu Hsin-hui and Y.F. Low