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St. Vincent to become stronger advocate for Taiwan at U.N.: ambassador

2019-10-13  English News
Photo courtesy of CNA
Photo courtesy of CNA
Taipei, Oct. 12 (CNA) St. Vincent and the Grenadines will have an opportunity to advocate more strongly for Taiwan to be recognized, when the Caribbean country takes its seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) early next year, its Ambassador to Taiwan Andrea Bowman said earlier this week.

In an exclusive interview with CNA, Bowman said her country, one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, was elected in June as a member of the UNSC for a two-year term and will take its seat on the 15-member UNSC in January 2020.

The seat on the UNSC will put St. Vincent and the Grenadines "in a position where our voice will be better heard," and allow the country to advocate for "Taiwan's right to be legitimately recognized," she said.

"The voice of this little country in such a big seat … would be heard and would count for something," Bowman said.

She said her island nation has been using its voice to speak up internationally for Taiwan and will continue to do so.

"Only now it's going to be a louder voice, a voice that carries even more weight," said Bowman, who took up the post of St. Vincent and the Grenadines' first ambassador to Taiwan in August.

On the issue of China's efforts to peel off Taiwan's diplomatic allies, Bowman said she recognized that "all allies of Taiwan would be targeted by China."

With regards to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, however, its 38-year relationship with Taiwan was built on "trust and friendship," she said.

She said the diplomatic ties with Taiwan are strongly supported by the Vincentian public and by Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and his Unity Labour Party, now in their fourth consecutive term.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines' recent decision to open an embassy in Taiwan was a strong indication of its commitment to the bilateral diplomatic ties, Bowman said.

The embassy in Taipei's Shilin District was formally opened on Aug. 8, at a ceremony attended by Gonsalves, Taiwan's Vice President Chen Chien-Jen, and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, among other officials, and began service on Oct. 7.

Bowman, a former principal of a girls' high school, said her first priority as ambassador is to take care of the Vincentian students in Taiwan and to decide how best the embassy can serve them.

"I want them to regard the St. Vincent embassy as a home away from home," Bowman said.

Her second priority is to establish a viable presence in Taiwan, promoting her country through the media, exhibitions and cultural events, she said.

The embassy's first major undertaking will be a series of activities in the week leading up to Oct. 27, when St. Vincent and Grenadines will mark 40 years of political independence, Bowman said.

The celebrations will include an official reception at the embassy and public events in Taipei, all which will help establish St. Vincent and the Grenadines' presence in Taiwan, she said.

"We are in our early days, but bit by bit we will do more and more," the ambassador said.