After overseeing a donation of flu medicine to the Panama government, at 10:15 a.m. on June 27 (9:15 p.m. June 27 Taipei time), President Tsai Ing-wen met Haiti's First Lady Ginette Michaud Privert and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierrot Delienne.
President Tsai began by thanking First Lady Privert and Minister Delienne for using this opportunity to meet with her during their trip to Panama to attend the canal expansion project inauguration ceremony. During the meeting Minister Delienne mentioned that Haiti's investment environment had gradually improved, and that its product exports to the United States enjoy duty-free status, so he hopes that Taiwan enterprises will invest in Haiti. President Tsai replied that it was a good proposal. She also noted that foreign investments by Taiwan enterprises often encounter problems due to local government regulations, and that Haiti would surely attract such investments if Haitian law provided incentives for Taiwan enterprises in addition to the advantages their products enjoy when exported to the US. She added that because Haiti has problems generating sufficient electrical power, Taiwan would also share its experience in improving power supply and knowledge regarding the development of renewable energy sources.
At 10:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m. June 27 Taipei time), President Tsai's motorcar whisked her to Panama's Presidential Palace to meet President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez. Taiwan and Panama signed a cooperation agreement at the meeting regarding immigration affairs and human trafficking prevention, demonstrating their determination to join forces in the fight against crime.
Upon arriving at Panama's Presidential Palace, President Tsai was personally welcomed by President Varela and Director General of Protocol Roberto Zuniga. After Panama's national band played the anthems of both countries, President Tsai and President Varela introduced government officials from their respective countries. The two presidents then held a meeting at an office in the Presidential Palace, after which they were joined by senior officials from both countries for a broad-ranging exchange of ideas, addressing topics including health care and medicine, rural education, and crime prevention.
During her meeting with President Varela, President Tsai mentioned that Panamanian students who have studied in Taiwan and returned home after graduation have faced degree certification issues. In the ensuing joint discussions involving senior officials from both countries, President Varela immediately requested that Panama's Ministry of Education amend the relevant laws and regulations as soon as possible. At that meeting, President Tsai also said that youth issues are very important for the Taiwan government, and that going forward, she hopes both countries will increase exchanges and cooperation to upgrade youth education and lower youth crime rates.
After the bilateral meeting of senior officials ended, Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維) and Panama's Vice President and concurrently serving Minister of Foreign Affairs Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado signed a cooperative agreement regarding immigration affairs and human trafficking prevention in the Presidential Palace's Salon Amarillo (Yellow Room), witnessed by President Tsai and President Varela.
In remarks, President Tsai opened by thanking President Varela for inviting Taiwan to participate in the inauguration ceremony for the Panama Canal Expansion, which allowed the government and people of Taiwan to bear witness to this important historical event.
President Tsai recalled that when she attended the previous day's (June 26) inauguration ceremony, the feeling of excitement among the local people was palpable. She also believes that the completion of the canal's expansion project will increase Panama's importance in the global shipping and logistics sectors, and even in Central America as a whole. The president also said that Taiwan and Panama have a longstanding friendship, and in addition to sharing this historic moment with the citizens of Panama, she hopes that together, we will all participate in the future business and developmental opportunities generated by the expansion of the canal.
President Tsai then mentioned that during the course of her meeting with President Varela, they engaged in a free exchange of ideas regarding bilateral, regional, and even global affairs, and that the meeting involving senior officials from both countries resulted in greater mutual understanding of their respective plans for further cooperation. President Tsai also expressed admiration for President Varela's efforts to provide young people with a healthier environment to grow up in and better developmental opportunities. Based on the existing foundation, she hopes to continue to strengthen bilateral exchanges and cooperation in all areas including information security, education, medical treatment, and human resource training, thereby enhancing bilateral relations while providing Panama with more developmental opportunities.
President Tsai also noted that President Varela pays close attention to the cross-strait situation, and thus hopes that he will continue to help promote the stable development of cross-strait relations.
At noon, President Varela hosted a luncheon for the members of the Taiwan delegation in the Presidential Palace's Salon de los Tamarindos (Tamarind Room). In remarks, President Tsai once again expressed her gratitude to President Varela for inviting Taiwan to participate in the inauguration ceremony for the Panama Canal Expansion. She also said that this visit allowed her to fully experience the passion of the Panamanian people, and that she hopes President Varela will visit Taiwan in the very near future, where he will surely be received by the government and people of Taiwan with equal, if not greater warmth and enthusiasm.
To close the festivities, the representatives of both countries raised a toast to the stable alliance and lasting friendship between Taiwan and Panama.