Visit of President is about freedom and democracy

Basseterre, St. Kitts, 12th July, 2019 ( – Officials in St. Kitts and Nevis have spent the past couple days hustling to complete arrangements for the state visit this weekend, of the president of Taiwan, Dr. Tsai Ing-wen.

The president will arrive in St. Kitts and Nevis on Saturday, 13th July, 2019.

Her visit will bring to three, the number of presidents from that Asian country, who have been to the shores of one of its strongest diplomatic allies.

Taiwan says the (overall) purpose of this visit is to demonstrate the importance Taiwan places on its Caribbean allies and continues to strengthen its friendly ties with them.

While each country would have its own objectives for the visit, Taiwan has made it clear that
“This state visit centers around the themes of freedom, democracy, and sustainability…”

That is according to Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Li-Jey Tsao, who said the four Caribbean countries to be visited are all free, democratic, like-minded partners of Taiwan.

Also on the agenda for a visit are Haiti, St. Lucia and Saint Vincent & The Grenadines. All these countries actively promote democracy and freedom in the region, said the Vice Minister.

For decades, Taiwan itself has been locked in a political battle with mainland China, which continues to insist that the island nation is a province of the Communist-run emerging super power.

China has also in the past tried to frustrate Taiwan’s bid to join various international organizations and agencies, including the United Nations, while at the same time investing heavily in its efforts to reduce the smaller nation’s diplomatic footprints globally.

During the 1980s, other major players on the world stage, such as the United States and Great Britain, also unsuccessfully tried to intimidate smaller nations, like St. Kitts and Nevis, who wanted to establish ties with Taiwan.

But fearless leaders like former Prime Minister and now National Hero, Dr. Sir Kennedy Simmonds, shunned all such efforts from London and other capitals, and forged ahead with creating official ties.

In fact, Taiwan was the first nation that St. Kitts and Nevis established diplomatic relations with when independence came in 1983. However, it did not come without vile threats from some of those larger countries.

And today, the over three decades of friendship has survived all successive administrations, no matter their political persuasions. The result has seen tremendous benefits coming to St. Kitts and Nevis in agriculture, sports, agro-processing, education and other areas.

St. Kitts and Nevis on the other hand has served as a champion for the cause of Taiwan’s campaign to be simply accepted as a free and independent nation, rather than a perceived territory of China. Truth be told, Taiwan has no greater friend in the region, than St. Kitts and Nevis.

And it is not only the politicians and governments who embrace Taiwan. It is also the people. That is why it is critical for Taiwan to fully clasp this friendship with open arms and loyalty.

During a press conference to announce the president’s visit, the Taiwanese Vice Minister said that “…during this state visit, the delegation will visit Taiwan’s various cooperative programs helping to promote sustainable development in these countries, and we will work to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

The president will be here for a three night stay and will pay a call on several historical sites in St. Kitts and Nevis, hold private meetings with the Governor General, His Excellency Sir. S.W. Tapley Seaton and Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said an official statement.

Nevis too has been included, for the first time, in itinerary.

The president will participate in a number of activities in St. Kitts and on Nevis. Such activities in Nevis will include a dinner hosted by Premier of Nevis, Mark Brantley and Mrs. Brantley, a ground breaking ceremony at the site for Pinneys Beach Recreation Park; laying of wreath at the Christena Disaster Memorial and a visit to the Museum of Nevis History, and Hamilton House.

In St. Kitts, the president is expected to witness the Signing Ceremony of a Technical and Vocational Education Cooperation Agreement; tour Government House; engage in a tree planting ceremony and attend a State Banquet.

H.E. Dr. Tsai Ing-wen will also visit the Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in St. Kitts. She will learn about the history of the Fortress, the restoration work that has been undertaken there, and attend a showcase of local culture, dance and music. She will also visit the Berkeley Memorial and City Centre, said a release from the St. Kitts and Nevis government.

The Caribbean visits run from July 11-22.

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