30 Jan 2008

Marshalls President signals support for Taiwan

9:56 am on 30 January 2008

The new Marshall Islands President Litokwa Tomeing has delivered a speech strongly supporting ties with Taiwan at his first meeting with Taiwan Vice President Annette Lu

Vice President Lu arrived in the Marshall Islands on Tuesday to start a three-nation Pacific tour that includes stops in Nauru and the Solomon Islands.

After welcoming her to the Marshall Islands, the President gave Ms Lu a definite pledge that diplomatic ties between the two nations will continue into the future.

Prior to last November's election, Mr Tomeing said it was time to return to a one-China policy and recognize the People¹s Republic of China.

But a majority of his party disagree, supporting ties with Taiwan,which is the

second leading aid donor to the Marshalls.

The President said the Marshall Islands will continue to endorse Taiwan¹s

efforts to join the United Nations and the World Health Organization.

He thanked Ms Lu for President Chen Shui-bian¹s immediate response to the

domestic air service crisis in the country.

Taiwan provided $1 million last week to help Air Marshall Islands get its two planes back in the air.

Vice-President Lu reiterated her country¹s appreciation of Marshall Islands support for Taiwan¹s membership in international organizations.