Tuvalu’s Prime Minister H.E. Enele Sosene Sopoaga Visits the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Promote Tuvalu’s New Government Roadmap/吐瓦魯國總理索本嘉閣下訪問中華民國 推動吐國新政府藍圖 / by Minute Taupo

President Ma meets Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga (2013/11/05) credit: 總統府 Presidential Office (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode)

President Ma meets Tuvalu Prime Minister Enele Sosene Sopoaga (2013/11/05) credit: 總統府 Presidential Office (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode)

        From 2 to 7 November 2013, H.E. Enele Sosene Sopoaga, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, was accompanied by his wife Madame Salilo Enele Sopoaga; Honorable Taukelina Finikaso, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Tuvalu; Honorable Maatia Toafa, Minister of Finance and Economic Development for Tuvalu; and other officers from the Government of Tuvalu, on an official visit to the R.O.C. (Taiwan) to promote Tuvalu’s “New Government Priority Roadmap,” which was established after the change in Tuvalu’s government that brought Prime Minister Sopoaga to power on 5 August 2013. Tuvalu’s Ambassador to Taiwan, Minute Alapati Taupo, and his wife Madame Seleta Kapua Taupo joined the delegation over the course of the visit to Taiwan.

        During their trip, Prime Minister Sopoaga and other distinguished guests from Tuvalu met with not only Dr. Ma Ying-jeou, the President of the Republic of China; Ambassador David Y.L. Lin, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Ambassador Ting Joseph Shih, Deputy Minister for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but also visited officials at Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency (Council of Agriculture), the International Cooperation and Development Fund, and the Taiwan Turnkey Project Association. The Prime Minister’s visit to Taiwan also entailed a whirlwind tour of the island, during which the visiting delegation from Tuvalu traveled to Yilan, Taichung, Nantou, and Kaohsiung and paid special visits to the Central Training Center for the Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training (Council of Labor Affairs), the Taichung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station (Council of Agriculture), the Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, and the Ching Fu Group, the largest private shipbuilding organization in Taiwan.

        The delegation’s trip to Taiwan also featured a visit to the recently established Embassy of Tuvalu in the R.O.C. (Taiwan) in Taipei’s International Trade Building and a presentation by artist Vincent J.F. Huang to Tuvalu’s Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding artistic projects that can highlight Tuvalu’s environmental crises on an international scale.

        Finally, the Prime Minister’s visit to Taiwan proved a landmark occasion in solidifying relations between Tuvalu and the R.O.C. given that a proposal by the Prime Minister’s delegation to increase budget support from Taiwan to Tuvalu from US$5 million to US$7.5 million was approved by the R.O.C. This is the first time in six years that funding provided by Taiwan to Tuvalu has been increased.

     2013年11月2至7日,吐瓦魯國總理索本嘉閣下以及總理夫人莎莉蘿女士、外交部長費尼卡索、財政部長陀阿法以及其他吐國政府官員一同訪問臺灣,以求推動吐國「新政府藍圖」;該藍圖是在2013年8月吐國反對派推翻執政派,索本嘉成為總理後建立的。吐國政府代表團在華時,吐國駐華大使陶敏德及大使夫人陶思靈隨同代表團出席所有訪問活動。

     在華時,索本嘉總理與其他吐國貴賓會晤中華民國總統馬英九、中華民國外交部長林永樂,以及外交部政務次長石定;代表團還拜會行政院農委會漁業署、財團法人國際合作發展基金會,及社團法人中華整廠發展協會。總理及吐國代表團在華時亦周遊全國,赴宜蘭、臺中、南投及高雄參訪勞委會職業訓練局中區職業訓練中心、臺中區農業改良場、中山醫學大學附設醫院,以及臺灣最大的私立船廠慶富集團。

     此外,代表團亦至臺北世界貿易中心國際貿易大樓,視察吐瓦魯國新設立之駐華大使館。吐國外交部長並會見臺灣藝術家黃瑞芳,聆聽其報告如何以藝術作品突顯吐國之環境危機。

     索本嘉總理這次訪臺行程也是鞏固吐臺關係的里程碑。總理代表團在臺時,臺灣政府正式同意吐國政府新經濟援助計畫,將臺灣政府原來所提供之500萬美元援助增加至750萬美元。自2008年以來,這是首次臺灣政府增加對吐國之援助金額。