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President considers Swaziland Taiwan's springboard into Africa

2018-04-19  English News
President Tsai Ing-wen (second left) meets with Swaziland's King Mswati III (left)/Photo courtesy of CNA
President Tsai Ing-wen (second left) meets with Swaziland's King Mswati III (left)/Photo courtesy of CNA
Mbabane, April 17 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday at the start of her visit to Swaziland that the southern African kingdom can become an important base for Taiwanese businesses to develop the African market.

Africa is a market with considerable potential and an ideal destination for Taiwanese enterprises looking to expand their global markets, Tsai said during talks with King Mswati III, and she believed English-speaking Swaziland could become an important springboard into the continent for Taiwanese companies.

Tsai also signed a joint communique with the king at their meeting, held shortly after she arrived in the country, before attending a state dinner.

In the joint communique, the king expressed the country's firm support for Taiwan's participation in the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Criminal Police Organization.

Also during their meeting, Tsai presented Swaziland's king with gifts from one of Taiwan's indigenous tribes, as well as five cows, which represent wealth in the southern African kingdom and are a traditional ceremonial gift.

Tsai said the value of a cow is equivalent to one to two times the monthly salary of middle-ranking public servants in the country and that the presentation of the traditional ceremonial gift showed respect for Swaziland's traditional culture.

In return, the Swazi king conferred Tsai with the Medal of the Order of the Elephant, the highest decoration of the kingdom given to foreign heads of state, in recognition of her great contributions to enhance friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Tsai said this year marks the 50th anniversary of Swaziland's independence, the Swazi king's 50th birthday and 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and she believed the cooperation and mutual trust between the two countries will last forever.

She pledged that Taiwan will work to strengthen its partnership with Swaziland in two main areas: increasing technological exchanges and deepening cooperation based on the foundation of mutual trust and reciprocity.

As part of that commitment, the president said she planned to check on many of the medical, agricultural and educational initiatives that Taiwan has undertaken in Swaziland during her stay in the country.

Taiwan also hoped to strengthen cooperation by attracting more Swazi students to Taiwan to study in various professional fields and establishing partnerships with local schools to nurture talented people who can contribute to national development, Tsai said.

The Swazi king, meanwhile, accepted Tsai's invitation to visit Taiwan in June and expressed hope that the two countries will sign an agreement to strengthen economic and trade cooperation during his Taiwan visit, according to National Security Council official Tsai Ming-yen, who is part of the delegation in Swaziland.

Swaziland is one of only two Taiwanese diplomatic allies in Africa, the other being Burkina Faso. Tsai is in the country on a four-day, three-night visit, and is scheduled to return home on Saturday.