- By Bernadette H. Carreon-Pacific Note
Remengesau to reaffirm Palau-Taiwan friendship
Koror-- Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. will meet Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen as well as senior Taiwan officials, in his first official visit since Tsai was elected.
The state visit is seen as a reinforcement of the diplomatic ties between the two countries, amid increased assertiveness from China and its growing influence in the Pacific.
Remengesau will visit Taiwan from Nov. 10 to Nov. 14, Press Secretary Olkeriil Kazuo said in a statement to the local media.
“It is President Remengesau's first official state visit to the Republic of China during President Tsai Ing-wen's presidency,” according to the statement.
In 2016, President Remengessau met Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen
during her inauguration. (Office of the President, Republic of China website)
Tsai was elected the first woman president of Taiwan in 2016. By the time she become president, Palau was already experiencing a surge of tourists from Mainland China. Taiwan has governed independently as a nation since 1949 but China sees it as a breakaway province and does not support its independence. Palau is one of the 17 remaining countries that have a diplomatic relationship with Taiwan.
Taiwan provides Palau financial aid in the hundreds of millions, ranging from infrastructure, agricultural and aquaculture. In the last two years, Chinese tourists remained as the top tourism market of Palau, accounting for close to 50 percent of international visitors to Palau since 2016, with Taiwanese making up at least 10 percent.
In his visit to Taiwan, his office said Remengesau is looking, “to discuss strengthening the two countries collaboration in tourism.”
Although Remengesau has repeatedly ruled out revoking Palau’s diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, he welcomes foreign investment to the country, including from Chinese investors.
In the official visit, Remengesau is also shoring up collaboration with Taiwan in Palau's hosting of the Our Ocean Conference in 2020. Remengesau confirmed that Taiwan would assist Palau in constructing an additional convention center for the event.
President Remengesau and his delegation will have the opportunity to visit Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute and the Fisheries Research Institute in Tainan. They will also meet with the members of the Legislative Yuan and the Taiwan Foreign Minister.