At noon on August 15 (midnight on August 16, Taipei time), Vice President Chen Chien-jen and his wife attended a luncheon hosted by Cristina Lizardo Mezquita, the first female president of the Senate of the Dominican Republic.
In remarks, Vice President Chen first thanked Senate President Lizardo for her gracious hospitality and offered congratulations on her excellent showing in the Senate elections of May 15, when she was re-elected as the senator for Santo Domingo Province with an overwhelming 580,000 votes. This shows that voters are very satisfied with the services she has provided to her constituents. Senate President Lizardo is very concerned about the care and education available to women, children, and disadvantaged groups. More than 10,000 illiterate people have benefitted from services provided by a foundation that she established, and Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina has identified "elimination of illiteracy" as one of his administration's key policy objectives. In fact, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has publicly recognized his efforts.
Vice President Chen stated that Senate President Lizardo is a good friend of our country and previously visited Taiwan in April 2013 and March 2015, the first time as Senate Vice President and the second time as Senate President. She is very familiar with political and economic conditions in Taiwan as well as its situation within the international community. Moreover, she shepherded the passage of a Senate resolution supporting Taiwan's participation in international organizations. Vice President Chen thanked Senate President Lizardo for her firm friendship.
Vice President Chen pointed out that this is his first visit to the Dominican Republic since taking office, and although he had only arrived the day before, the scenic beauty and friendly people had already made a deep impression upon him. The main purpose of this trip was to attend the inauguration of President Medina, and while the visit would be a short one, the agenda was nevertheless quite full, he said.
Vice President Chen also mentioned that he had just chatted with Dominican Republic students who had received Taiwan Scholarships to study in Taiwan, and was happy to learn that they have been contributing to the Dominican Republic since finishing their studies and returning home. Some are working as university instructors, while others are serving in the government and the private sector. All are doing outstanding jobs, he said, and one is soon to marry a woman from Taiwan. This kind of university training is very important to the bilateral friendship, and the two sides will continue to enhance cooperation in this area.
Vice President Chen said that earlier that morning he had visited a US$110 million solar energy plant built by a Taiwanese company. The fact that this is currently the largest solar energy plant anywhere in Central America or the Caribbean region shows that the Dominican Republic is serious about addressing the problems of CO2 emissions and air pollution. This green energy facility is something that both Taiwan and the Dominican Republic can be very proud of, he added.
Vice President Chen stressed that President Tsai Ing-wen since taking office has been working hard to implement a policy of “steadfast diplomacy”, which is aimed at providing mutual assistance for mutual benefits. Following the luncheon, the vice president was scheduled to visit the Center for Comprehensive Care for the Disabled and the 911 National Emergency Response and Security System, both of which are important results of bilateral cooperation between Taiwan and the Dominican Republic. The vice president stated that the Dominican Republic is a key diplomatic ally that has maintained official ties with Taiwan for 76 years. The two governments will continue to work together, he said, to improve the Dominican Republic's investment climate and education system, and to create more job opportunities, thereby benefitting the people of both countries.