BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, MAY 15th, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris and a delegation will travel to Taiwan this week to attend the May 20th inauguration of the country’s first female president. Tsai Ing-wen was elected as Taiwan’s president on January 16th, 2016.
Taiwan’s current leader, President Ma Ying-jeou, was elected on March 22nd, 2008 and inaugurated on May 20th, 2008. He was re-elected on January 14th, 2012 to a second four-year term in office and inaugurated on May 20th, 2012.
Just two months ago, Prime Minister Harris was one of four Caribbean prime ministers who met with President Ma Ying-jeou in Belize on the evening of March 16th. Belize’s prime minister, Honourable Dean Barrow, as well as St. Lucia’s prime minister, Dr. the Honourable Kenny Anthony, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ prime minister, Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves also participated in that meeting.
The prime ministers commended the president for his many contributions while in public service, particularly as they relate to the strengthening of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and their respective governments and citizenry.
President Ma Ying-jeou’s visit to Belize formed part of his final overseas trip to hold high-level meetings with Government Heads of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in Central America and the Eastern Caribbean. Taiwan and Belize established diplomatic relations on October 11th, 1989.
On March 14th, 2016, President Ma Ying-jeou visited Guatemala, where he met with President Jimmy Morales. The Republic of China and Guatemala established diplomatic ties in 1933.
St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) established diplomatic relations on September 23rd, 1983. Taiwan and St. Vincent and the Grenadines established diplomatic relations on August 15th, 1981. St. Lucia held diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) from 1984 to 1997, then with the People’s Republic of China (more commonly called China) from 1997 to 2007, and again with Taiwan from May 1st, 2007 continuing into the present day.
During a bilateral meeting with President Ma Ying-jeou on the afternoon of March 16th, 2016, Prime Minister Harris said that he looked forward to the inauguration.
“I look forward to witnessing the inauguration of the first woman president,” Prime Minister Harris told President Ma Ying-jeou, adding that, “You must take some credit for creating an environment in which all women are encouraged.”
(Press release courtesy of the Office of the Press Secretary)