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Tsai Reaffirms Taiwan’s Commitment to Relations With Belize

Belmopan/Belize City, Belize, April 3 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) reaffirmed Taiwan’s steadfast commitment to ties with Belize, hailing the benefits brought to people in both countries by the relationship during an address to the Caribbean country’s National Assembly Monday.

“The friendship between Taiwan and Belize is not built on empty promises or the political whims of our leadership,” Tsai told a special joint sitting of Belize’s House of Representatives and Senate in the capital Belmopan.

The president added that Taiwan and Belize’s 34-year bilateral relationship had “led to results that have benefited people from both our countries.”

On the second day of her visit to Belize, Tsai was invited to deliver an address to both houses of Belize’s parliament following her meeting with Prime Minister Johnny Briceño.

Earlier in the day, Tsai and Briceño jointly witnessed the signing of a framework agreement on technical cooperation between the two countries, and the handover of 5,000 laptops donated by Taiwanese companies to help Belize improve rural education.

When arriving at the National Assembly, Tsai was welcomed by Briceño and Leader of the Opposition Shyne Barrow, and proceeded to deliver the speech in the company of House of Representatives Speaker Valerie Woods and Senate Speaker Carolyn Trench-Sandiford.

In her speech, Tsai thanked Belize for being the “strongest and most powerful advocate” for Taiwan’s international participation.

“On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I want to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to the government of Belize, and all the members of the House and the Senate. Your unwavering friendship and support mean so much to us,” Tsai said.

Although Taiwan’s relationships with democracies around the world have grown stronger in recent years, the country’s people face constant threats and pressure from its neighbor, Tsai said.

Tsai also noted that Taiwan continues to be excluded from participation in international organizations and serving as a productive member of the international community.

Tsai went on to address the wide-ranging cooperative projects between the two countries in the fields of infrastructure, healthcare, agriculture, disaster management and prevention, information and communications technology, and education.

“Taiwan is honored to play a role in assisting Belize’s national development,” she said.

Taiwan has become Belize’s 10th largest trading partner, Tsai said, noting that Belizean exports to Taiwan in 2022 increased to US$3.24 million, 317 percent of the amount in 2021, since the Taiwan-Belize Economic Cooperation Agreement took effect January 2022.

Taiwan is working to opening up more avenues for cooperation, including expanding imports of marine products, coffee and cacao from Belize to forge closer engagement, she added.

Although there are countries that seek to drive a wedge between Taiwan and Belize, the two countries have remained close “because of our common values and our shared vision for a more prosperous and peaceful future,” Tsai said.

In conclusion, Tsai said she would like to reaffirm Taiwan’s steadfast commitment to the bilateral partnership in the presence of “true friends,” adding that she believed the relationship would continue to stay strong for decades to come.

Later on Monday, Tsai visited the National Sheep and Goat Breeding Center in Central Farm, in the Cayo District of central Belize, to review the results of a project by Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) and Belize’s Minister of Agriculture, Food Security and Enterprise.

On Monday night, Briceño and Tsai attended a ceremony in Belize City to mark the collaboration between the two countries on the construction of the San Pedro General Hospital.

At the dinner banquet hosted by Briceño, Tsai said she was delighted to see that bilateral cooperation had made the proposal raised by Briceño during his trip to Taiwan in March 2022 for a hospital on Belize’s San Pedro Island a reality.

“We hope this facility fills the need for accessible, comprehensive medical services both for residents and visitors in Belize’s most popular tourist destinations,” Tsai said.

Tsai’s delegation is scheduled to conclude its three-day visit in Belize after a planned tour of a women’s empowerment project Tuesday (local time).

The president will transit in Los Angeles on the way back to Taiwan, as she wraps up a 10-day overseas trip that also included stops in New York City and Guatemala.

Source: Focus Taiwan