(as prepared for delivery)
It is my pleasure to join Foreign Minister Wu in welcoming President Whipps and Ambassador Hennessey-Niland to Taiwan, particularly on such an auspicious occasion.
Your trip is significant for both practical and symbolic reasons.
Practically speaking, this travel and the new policy that made it possible, is a tangible sign of progress and cause for optimism in the fight against COVID-19. It shows that Taiwan and Palau’s diligent and effective COVID prevention efforts have brought them to a point of stability and security that allowed them to begin the long-awaited process of reopening to visitors.
This visit is also emblematic of the closeness and cooperation that has benefitted the United States, Taiwan, and Palau in the COVID fight and more broadly.
Our partnership has meant helping one another in times of urgent need. The United States is proud to have provided COVID vaccines to Palau earlier this year, and I understand that PPE donated by Taiwan last year was critical to Palau’s COVID-19 management.
Our partnership also includes cooperation to confront shared threats, such as climate change and marine debris. We look forward to constructive collaboration during the next Our Ocean Conference.
Our partnership also includes efforts to advance our shared values, including preservation of indigenous cultures and fostering sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
I look forward to this opportunity to discuss these and many other areas of cooperation during this visit. Moments like this reaffirm the value of the longstanding friendship that binds the United States, Palau, and Taiwan.