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.