Spokesperson Kolas makes history with Palau address

  • Date: 2018-09-19
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Executive Yuan Spokesperson Kolas Yotaka on Tuesday delivered a keynote address at the 25th Mechesil Belau Conference in Palau at the invitation of a Palauan queen. She thanked the Pacific island ally for its firm support for Taiwan despite power politics and pressure, and said that the two nations have not been separated by the Pacific Ocean but have instead been bound together by it.
The conference, a major annual event for women and female leaders in the Asia-Pacific region, takes place Tuesday through Thursday at the Ngarachamayong Culture Center in the city of Koror. Among attendants from Palau are President Tommy Remengesau, Queen Gloria Salii, Senate President Hokkons Baules, House of Delegates Speaker Sabino Anastacio, and local traditional leaders. International participants include U.S. Ambassador to Palau Amy Hyatt, as well as officials and women’s representatives from the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Guam, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, the Northern Mariana Islands, Saipan, and the United Nations. Kolas’ appearance marks the first time that a Taiwan government spokesperson has attended and delivered a keynote speech in the 25-year history of the conference organized by the Republic of Palau.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Caring and sharing: The preservation, protection, promotion, and implementation of tradition and culture, good health and well-being, education, the environment, and the transfer of knowledge to the younger generations.” In keeping with this spirit, Spokesperson Kolas shared Taiwan’s experience and efforts in promoting multiculturalism at home.

Noting her own example as the first indigenous woman in Taiwan to serve as spokesperson of the Executive Yuan, she praised President Tsai Ing-wen and Premier Lai Ching-te for working together with Taiwan’s indigenous peoples to break through past barriers. This includes the gradual embrace of Taiwan as a multiethnic state. Even more than her own small step into a role in government, Spokesperson Kolas cited this new respect for the nation’s diversity of cultures as a great stride forward for all the people of Taiwan.

The current government of Taiwan attaches great importance to ties with the Pacific region. Spokesperson Kolas emphasized that as a culturally diverse nation of many peoples, Taiwan shares with the island nations of the Pacific a close rapport based on similarities in language, ethnicity and culture.

She thanked the government and people of Palau for their continuously staunch and firm support of Taiwan even in the face of tremendous pressure from Beijing, saying that the expanse of the Pacific Ocean, rather than separating the two allies, has instead drawn them closely together. The spokesperson said that smaller nations must come together with one will if they are to resist the depredations of major powers. She called on the island nations of the Pacific to hold firm together and unite hand in hand.

Following her address at the conference’s opening ceremony Tuesday morning, Spokesperson Kolas met with Palau President Remengesau at his office Wednesday morning, where she conveyed Premier Lai Ching-te’s sincere appreciation for Palau’s strong support of Taiwan.