Premier Su Tseng-chang and his wife on Monday night hosted a banquet in honor of President Surangel Whipps Jr. and the first lady of Palau. President Whipps is the first head of state to visit Taiwan since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Symbolizing co-existence, co-prosperity and collaboration for the two nations, the visit by President Whipps and his delegation is the culmination of joint efforts to fight the pandemic, Premier Su said.
The travel bubble to be launched between Taiwan and Palau will boost the tourism industries and economies of both sides, making the two island nations an oasis in the Asia-Pacific and the envy of the world, the premier continued. He thanked Palau for its unwavering support for Taiwan in the international community and expressed hope that the two nations will continue working together to strengthen their friendship and alliance.
While the rest of the world grapples with the severe challenges of the pandemic, Taiwan and Palau have established a safe bubble for travel and tourism. This demonstrates to the world that a society can live relatively normal lives and overcome the pandemic as long as transparent pandemic monitoring, sound and government efficiency, and comprehensive and effective controls are in place, Premier Su said.
The safe travel bubble between Taiwan and Palau will create a win-win scenario for both sides in terms of travel and tourism and economic development, the premier pointed out. Palau tourism packages designed by Taiwanese travel agencies are very popular as the Taiwanese public is keen to explore the beautiful islands of Palau.
Taiwan and Palau established diplomatic relations in 1999. The years since have seen Taipei push forward with development assistance for the Pacific island nation under the unchanging principles of putting people first and pursuing steadfast and mutually beneficial diplomacy, said Premier Su. Taiwan and Palau cooperate closely in the areas of epidemic control, public health, agriculture and fisheries, capability building, clean energy and basic infrastructure, with Taiwan's foreign aid work characterized by the flexibility to adjust the direction of bilateral collaboration in order to meet the county's practical development needs. The premier likened the two countries' relationship to that of a close family, locked in a mutual embrace of understanding, assistance and reliable support.
In thanking Palau for its unstinting support of Taiwan in the international community, Premier Su highlighted China's ongoing economic, military and diplomatic interference, as well as its continuous efforts to suppress Taipei and force its exit from the global stage. Palau has taken a brave stance in facing China's irrational "wolf warrior" diplomatic tactics, all the while upholding the universal principle of equal justice with its continued strong advocacy of Taiwan in such large international forums as the United Nations, World Health Organization, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and International Civil Aviation Organization. For these efforts, the premier conveyed his sincere appreciation on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan.
The travel bubble established between Taiwan and Palau is exactly like the two nations' friendship in its high value and stability, said Premier Su. Hand in hand, the two countries have collaborated in protecting their homelands and developing their economies, and together are emerging as two Pacific paradises admired throughout the world.