March 30, 2021
Press Release on the Visit of President of Palau Surangel Whipps, Jr.
to Launch the Taiwan-Palau Travel Bubble
On March 28, 2021, His Excellency Surangel Whipps, Jr., President of the Republic of Palau, traveled to Taiwan to launch the Taiwan-Palau travel bubble. Taiwan and Palau’s remarkable handling of the COVID-19 pandemic made this development possible. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Palau has drawn on the combined expertise of the U.S. and Taiwan public health systems. Through the guidance of these two partners, Palau has remained completely COVID-19 free.
Taiwan and the United States have both provided Palau with personal protective equipment, testing supplies and equipment, and expert technical assistance throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Since January 2021, the United States has been providing COVID-19 vaccines to Palau. But the partnership between Taiwan, Palau, and the United States is not limited to public health or pandemic management.
The United States, Taiwan, and Palau share a strong commitment to democracy, to a free and open Indo-Pacific, and to advancing the peace and prosperity of the region. The United States and Palau have been close partners for more than 75 years under the Compact of Free Association. Since Taiwan and Palau established diplomatic relations in 1999, they have stood side-by-side in support of a peaceful, rules-based international order. Palau consistently advocates for Taiwan’s participation in multilateral organizations, including the World Health Organization. Taiwan continues to partner with Palau in its agricultural, fishery, medical, and public health sector development efforts, as well as enhancing human resources, good governance, and infrastructure.
The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Palau cooperated on a range of issues through the two Pacific Islands Dialogues. MOFA, Taiwan’s Council of Indigenous Peoples, AIT, and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association organized the Global Cooperation and Training Framework (GCTF) workshop on International Austronesian Languages Revitalization, which was held in Palau in September 2019 – the first GCTF event held outside Taiwan. The United States and Palau are also part of the annual Our Ocean Conference. Palau is scheduled to host the next edition of the global Our Ocean Conference, founded by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and Taiwan has stepped up as a premier conference partner.
This visit by President Whipps, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Palau John Hennessey-Niland, reaffirms our commitment to strengthening U.S.-Taiwan-Palau cooperation by promoting democracy and good governance, countering climate change, advancing digital health, fostering women’s empowerment, promoting agricultural trade, strengthening coast guard cooperation, and enhancing Palau’s cybersecurity. We look forward to continuing and expanding this partnership based on our shared values and common interest in contributing to the free and open Indo-Pacific.