Palau urges Taiwan to boost business ties, tourism

Palau's President Tommy Remengesau. Picture: RNZ

KOROR, 16 NOVEMBER 2018 (PACIFIC NOTE) – Koror- Palau President Tommy Remengesau Jr. urged the Taiwan government to boost business ties and tourism with his country to further strengthen the two nations’ “friendship.”

This was among Remengesau’s key messages during the state banquet hosted by Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.

“In the area of economic development, there are hotels in Palau owned and operated by Taiwanese nationals, and we would like to see more of this collaboration,” Remengesau said.

Remengesau asked Taiwan to consider Palau as a tourism hotspot by increasing direct flights from Taipei.

“China Airlines has two direct flights a week to Palau and we hope the flight frequency from Taipei will also increase.

“Palau should be a tourist destination for Taiwanese.

Palau has been gaining interest from Chinese investors, especially in building accommodations infrastructure. Tourists from mainland China has also captured the top tourism market of the country since 2014, accounting for at least 50 percent of arrivals.

Tourism is a critical source of economic activity in Palau.

The tourism industry is experiencing a downturn since last year but the government considers it a sign of attracting more high-spending visitors.

Remengesau and his delegation are in Taiwan for a five- day visit where he was welcomed with full military honors.

The president also highlighted how vital Taiwan’s relationship is with Palau.

“Next year, Palau and Taiwan will celebrate 20 years of friendship as diplomatic allies. “It’s a friendship that has gone beyond 20 years,” Remengesau said.

Remengesu also thanked Taiwan for its continuing assistance in agriculture and medical training.

“Taiwan has long been an ally in our efforts to achieve our sustainable development goals. This special friendship and partnership can be seen in our infrastructure investments, as well as continued assistance in health and education,” the Palau president stressed.

Palau also vowed to push global recognition for Taipei in international fora. “ Palau will continue to urge the United Nations to seek a solution to include Taiwan in all its processes, including the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“My government firmly believes that Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN system will greatly benefit the UN’s work and its Sustainable development agenda towards 2030 and beyond.”

Palau is one of the six allies of Taipei in the Pacific but with China increasing its engagement in the area, Tsai’s administration is also stepping up its influence with the countries which remains to have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Remengesau said international leaders should consider Taiwan an important global partner in addressing health, climate change, technology, economic and all the sustainable development goals agreed to by nations of the planet.