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Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in Palau Thursday, marking the first leg of her current visit to diplomatic allies in the Pacific.
Tsai was welcomed by Palau Minister of State Faustina Rehuher-Marugg last night.
Reflecting the close friendship between the two countries, Palau Vice President Raynold Oilouch also received Tsai when she disembarked from the plane.
Tsai also shook hands with residents and members of the local Taiwanese business community as they welcomed her by waving Republic of China and Palau flags and shouting "Welcome president."
People in Palau held lanterns to greet Tsai and her delegation as they made their way to the Palau Royal Resort.
The visit marks the first by a Taiwan president since former President Chen Shui-bian visited in 2006.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tsai will be in Palau until March 23, after which she will head to Nauru March 24-25, before arriving in the Marshall Islands on March 26 to attend the first Pacific Women Leaders' Coalition Conference. She will make a stopover in Hawaii on the return leg of the trip.
Meanwhile, Taiwan will donate coast guard patrol vessels to Palau and Nauru, two of its diplomatic allies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed Thursday before President Tsai Ing-wen departed on a visit to the Pacific island nations.
During Tsai's one-week visit to the South Pacific, Taiwan will sign a coast guard cooperation agreement with Palau and Nauru, similar to a deal it already has with the Marshall Islands, MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee told reporters.
Under the agreement, Taiwan will fund the construction of two eight-tonne patrol boats, one each for Palau and Nauru, which will be built in the two countries, Lee said.
Tsai will also present each of the two allies with a miniature model of the boats to symbolise the donations, during her visit there, he said.
According to MOFA, Taiwan signed a similar deal with the Marshall Islands in July 2018 and the details of donation are still being discussed.
SOURCE: CENTRAL NEWS AGENCY/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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International News Safety Institute (INSI)
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