PHOTO: A section of the guests in attendance (Spokesman Snap)

By: Precious Mills

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts-In celebration of the 106th National Day of The Republic of China (Taiwan) which is observed on 10th October, the local Taiwan Embassy on the night Friday 6th October hosted a reception at the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) located at Fortlands.

Among those in attendance were local government officials including Governor General Tapley Seaton; Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris; Deputy Prime Minister Shawn Richards; Attorney General Vincent Byron; Senator Akilah Nisbett- Byron and also living National Hero and the Federation’s first Prime Minister Dr. Kennedy Simmonds.

Opposition parliamentarians Opposition Leader  and immediate former Prime Minister Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and Marcella Liburd as well as Opposition Leader and former Premier in Nevis Joseph Parry were also present.

Resident Taiwan Ambassador George Gow-Wei Chiou, during his welcome remarks, said the event was also geared towards the 34th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis.

He talked about the governmental aspect of his homeland.

“In 2016, the people in Taiwan elected their first female president Tsai Ing-Wen, in the history of the Republic of China. In her first year in office, President Tsai has steadfastly transferred Taiwan’s economic structure, strengthened the social safety, and realised social fairness and justice. While aiming to enhance national prosperity and the people’s well-being, Taiwan has also strongly committed to foster regional peace, stability and prosperity.”

Ambassador Chiou added: “The Republic of China on Taiwan is a democratic and diverse society with a government that works for the welfare of the people. The Government of Taiwan adhere to public opinions and democratic principles, respect historical facts and existing political status quo, pragmatically managed cross-strait ties and establish a consistent, predictable and sustainable relationship with mainland China.”

Additionally, he touched on the longstanding relationship between Taiwan and St.Kitts-Nevis.

“In response to Taiwan’s international participation, the government of St. Christopher and Nevis never hesitates to extend your staunch support. Two weeks ago at the General Debate of the 72nd United Nations Assembly, Foreign Minister the Hon. Mark Brantley had delivered strong messages in highlighting Taiwan’s meaningful participation at international arena. In May this year, the government of St. Christopher and Nevis had extended the substantial support for Taiwan’s meaningful participation at the World Health Assembly.”

Ambassador Chiou expressed that: “The government of the Republic of China on Taiwan would like to extend our sincerely gratitude to the Federation for your continually support.”

PM Harris, during his speech, praised Taiwan’s developmental progress as a nation.

“Taiwan has been steadfast in moving forward and upward in almost every area of human endeavor; tourism- medical tourism in particular-pharmaceutical development, science, technology, agriculture services, Taiwan is a leader with respect to all of these.”

“So this is a good nation to be aligned with. This is a good nation with which we have established a bond; and a bond which has been unbreakable, unbroken for the last 34 years,” he added.

In further addressing the diplomatic between, he pointed out: “It is perhaps significant that tonight as we celebrate with ambassador Chiou, at his table are some of the men who pioneered St.Kitts and Nevis in its (visit) to develop diplomatic tie relations.

Among those he acknowledged was Dr. Kennedy Simmonds “who was prime minister then when diplomatic ties were established in 23rd September 1983 which has stood the test of time over the past 34 years.”

In speaking with Dr. Douglas at the event, he extended congratulations to the government and people of Taiwan on the 106th anniversary of nationalism whilst applauding the country’s contributions.

“There is no question that over those many years, Taiwan has advanced and has reached to the point where it has been very generous with sharing with small countries like ours- resources human and otherwise and has dedicated its own foreign policies towards advancing the cause of smaller states. We, therefore, feel it an honour and a privilege to continue to have this very important relationship and we are hoping that the government will continue to encourage, develop, enhance and expand the relationship it has with the Republic of China on Taiwan.”

Following the formal proceedings of the event was a joint toast featuring Ambassador Chiou and cabinet members.