Nauru promises to speak for Taiwan on international stage

Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa addresses the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at the United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) Nauru, one of Taiwan’s 19 diplomatic allies, has answered a request from President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) with a promise to speak for Taiwan which is being suppressed by China from attending crucial international events such as the World Health Assembly (WHA).

Visiting Nauru President Baron Divavesi Waqa made the promise at a meeting with Tsai Monday. He also expressed thanks for various assistance Nauru has been offered by the Taiwan government.

Describing relations between Nauru and Taiwan as stable, Waqa said his country will continue its support for Taiwan and do its utmost to speak for the country on the international stage.

Waqa, his wife and entourage were on a transit stop in Taiwan from Japan, where they attended the eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8) over the weekend, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During the meeting at the Presidential Office, Tsai welcomed Waqa’s visit, and made specific mention of “steadfast diplomacy,” which her administration has adopted as its diplomatic principle.

“Discussing plans and devising cooperation projects with good friends is the way to create a win-win situation,” said Tsai, expressing hope that such relations will be deepened.

She also noted that the Nauru Parliament passed in March a resolution to support Taiwan’s efforts to participate in United Nations’ organizations.

While the annual WHA is taking place in Geneva, which Taiwan was not invited to attend as an observer for the second consecutive year due to opposition from China, Tsai asked Nauru to give more support for Taiwan during the May 21-26 event.

Taiwan’s participation in the WHA — the decision-making body of the World Health Organization — is needed to combat the threat of global epidemics and also to help promote cooperation and exchanges in the sector, Tsai said.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Elizabeth Hsu)