News

Taiwan President Visits St Lucia

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 17, 2013

Above: Ma Ying-jeou

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou continued his Caribbean tour on Friday, becoming the first sitting Taiwanese leader to address a joint sitting of St Lucia’s Parliament.

The latest foreign leader to address a joint sitting of the country’s lawmakers was South African President Nelson Mandela in 1998.

Ma pointed in particular to St Lucia’s tourism success, with a population of 170,000 but one million annual inbound tourists.

“Taiwan has a population of 23 million and we have 7.31 million inbound tourists every year, which is less than 1/3 of our population,” he said. “So we believe that we can learn from your successful experience and we hope to get to know the secret to your great success.”
Ma said he had found two reasons for that success: “St Lucia’s natural scenery is beautiful and breathtaking,” and St Lucia’s “extraordinarily friendly people.”
Deputy Prime Minister Philip Pierre said the visit held “special significance for the friendship shared by the two countries.”

After years of shifting allegiances between China and Taiwan over the course of several administrations, St Lucia Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony chose to maintain the country’s relations with Taiwan following an internal review last year.

“Three of us visited Taiwan,” Pierre said. “I think the Minister for External affairs also visited Taiwan and I am sure many more ministers will visit. The Taiwanese aid will be used in the Constituency Development Programme and all constituencies benefit from that so the relationships are growing and are based on mutual respect for each other and we are very pleased with the way the relationship has been so far.”

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