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Aug 16, 2018

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen Arrives in Belize

The Taiwanese community in Belize turned out in numbers to greet President Tsai Ing-wen of the Republic of China (Taiwan) upon her arrival at the Philip Goldson International Airport this afternoon. Belize and the island nation of Taiwan have both enjoyed a comfortable diplomatic relationship, however, Taiwan has lost two allies since President Tsai Ing-wen was elected to office in 2016. The President’s visit to Belize is seen as Taiwan cementing diplomatic ties in the face of China’s doubled down efforts to assert sovereignty over the self-ruled and democratic Taiwan. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo was at the P.G.I.A. this afternoon and has the story.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The mid-afternoon at the Phillip Goldson International Airport was bustling with government officials, making sure everything was prepared for the arrival of Tsai Ing-wen, the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The President arrived in Belize at around two thirty. She was first greeted by Governor General Sir Colville Young, and later by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wilfred Elrington, Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte and Belize’s Ambassador to Taiwan, Diane Haylock. Thereafter, the Governor General and the President stood side by side for the playing of Taiwan’s national anthem after which the inspection of the Guard of Honor took place. Belize’s national anthem played next and in the background, the flags of both nations flew almost simultaneously- a representation of the diplomatic relationship shared by the two countries. Also there to meet the president were Taiwanese nationals living in Belize, like David Lin.

 

David Lin

David Lin, Member of Taiwanese Community in Belize

“It’s always good to have your leaders to come to Belize and support. We just want everyone in Taiwan to know that although we are in foreign we care about our country and we still support our homeland.”

 

But his homeland needs a lot of diplomatic support on the international scene. Since President Tsai Ing-wen was elected to office in 2016, Taiwan’s allies decreased from twenty to eighteen. The latest nations to abandon Taiwan and recognize mainland China as the only China are the Caribbean’s Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso in West Africa. But Belize has kept alongside the island nation for many years.

 

Over the years, millions of dollars have been granted to the Government of Belize by the Taiwanese Government through bilateral negotiations and cooperation. The president’s official visit to Belize is seen by some as a “Journey of Joint Celebration” while others have interpreted it as President Tsai Ing-wen’s diplomatic endeavor to cement ties in the face of Beijing’s robust international effort to steal Taiwan’s remaining allies.

 

Patrick Andrews

Patrick Andrews, C.E.O., Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Basically, we have been a very important ally to Taiwan and we want to continue building on that relationship and deepening our relationship.”

 

That relationship is expected to grow stronger with the president’s visit.

 

Jason Chang, Member of Taiwanese Community in Belize

“It’s definitely one a kind experience especially the President being in front of you and being able to hand shake and be able to…right in front of us. Normally we see the President on the t.v. but today its right here.”

 

Jason Chang

Hipolito Novelo

“What does it mean to you personally and to the Taiwanese community here?”

 

Jason Chang

“I believe that it definitely strengthens our ties together especially countries.”

 

One of those countries is Paraguay which is where President, Tsai Ing-wen will travel to when she leaves Belize on Saturday. Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

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