President to depart for Swaziland April 17: MOFA

Speaking at a seminar organized jointly by the National Association of Young Entrepreneurs and Friends of Tsai Ing-wen Association at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, the president said combating drugs is a major element of maintaining social order.

Taipei, March 29 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) will embark April 17 on a five-day trip to the Kingdom of Swaziland, one of Taiwan’s two African diplomatic allies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported Thursday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said at a press conference at the Presidential Office that Tsai will head a delegation of officials on the official visit to the south African nation.

According to Wu, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Swaziland’s independence and its establishment of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, as well as the 50th birthday of reigning King Mswati III, which makes it an ideal time to visit.

The delegation will travel on direct flights to and from the country, with no layovers, Wu noted.

During their time in the kingdom, the delegation will not only meet with local officials but will also inspect many of the medical, agricultural and educational initiatives that Taiwan has undertaken in Swaziland.

Tsai will also meet with the overseas Taiwanese community and business people in southern Africa.

The announcement comes two days after a Presidential Office source revealed that the visit had been planned.

While China has been investing heavily in Africa in recent years, Wu assured reporters that Taiwan’s diplomatic ties with both Swaziland and Burkina Faso — its other ally on the continent — are stable.

The minister explained that Tsai will not visit Burkina Faso on this occasion because the country has its own important international events to attend to and will be unable to receive the president during the time she will be in Africa.

Burkina Faso nonetheless remains very eager for Tsai to visit, and Taiwan has also officially invited Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore to visit.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Kuan-lin Liu)