President Tsai meets former President of Philippines Fidel V. Ramos

President Tsai meets former President of Philippines Fidel V. Ramos
On the morning of March 31, President Tsai Ing-wen met with former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos and Mrs. Ramos. On behalf the government and people, President Tsai welcomed former President Ramos to Taiwan. Noting that this is the ninth year in a row that he has led a delegation to Taiwan, President Tsai said this fact showed the depth of the friendship between Taiwan and the Philippines. She also took the opportunity to congratulate former President Ramos on recently celebrating his 89th birthday.

Mentioning the book that former President Ramos recently published and sent to her last October—For a Better Philippines-World—President Tsai said that what made an especially deep impression on her were the descriptions of his experiences in governing the Philippines and his thoughts on how to contribute to peace. Noting that former President Ramos has always strongly supported the enhancement of relations between Taiwan and the Philippines, and has made many suggestions to the Philippine government on how to achieve this goal, President Tsai said that his great friendship and support for Taiwan has been very moving.

Commenting on the development of Taiwan-Philippines relations, President Tsai stated that the New Southbound Policy has been an important policy priority ever since she came to office on May 20, 2016. Over the past year, in addition to a sharp increase in bilateral trade, the number of Filipino tourists coming to Taiwan has also been steadily increasing, with arrivals in 2016 up by 24% from 2015. Now, she said, one often sees Filipino tourists in Taiwan.

President Tsai further stated that the New Southbound Policy does not focus exclusively on business, trade, and tourism. Taiwan and the Philippines are close neighbors, so hopefully in the future we will be able to further enhance our interactions on all fronts. The president also expressed hope that Taiwan and the Philippines can achieve closer economic and trade ties by, for example, signing an economic cooperation agreement. She also said it would be good to have more cooperation in such areas as the easing of visa requirements, collaboration and dialogue in the South China Sea, education, and disaster preparedness. At the same time, President Tsai also said she hoped former President Ramos will continue making recommendations for better Taiwan-Philippines relations and working to promote bilateral exchanges.