Saint Lucia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Ernest Hilaire, began a five-day visit to Taiwan on Monday, lauding his country’s special friendship with the East Asian country.
“Taiwan is a very special friend of Saint Lucia,” Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) quoted Hilaire as saying.
According to CNA, the Saint Lucia Deputy Prime Minister said the primary goal of his first Taiwan visit was to express appreciation and gratitude to the government and people of Taiwan for the assistance and support they have given to his country.
Hilaire noted that his trip would also involve talks with Taiwan’s government and private businesses about deepening relations in agriculture, healthcare systems, the creative industry, and cultural exchanges.
Hilaire is also responsible for tourism, investment, creative industries, culture, and information.
Writing on Facebook, he described the first day of his official Taiwan visit as exciting.
On Monday, he visited an old wooden Japanese house-turned café at Taipei’s tourism hotspot Yongkang Street.
And Hilaire observed that by studying such examples, Saint Lucia could learn to transfer the Caribbean country’s historical relics into tourist attractions.
It is the second official trip to Taiwan by a senior Saint Lucia government official this year.
External Affairs, International Trade, and Civil Aviation Minister Alva R. Baptiste visited in March.
The Republic of China, the official name of Taiwan, and Saint Lucia first established diplomatic relations in 1984.
But in 1997, Saint Lucia switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing, reestablishing relations with Taiwan in April 2007.
As a result, China consequently severed its formal ties with Saint Lucia.