On the morning of April 10, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation from the Republic of Nicaragua led by Foreign Minister Denis Moncada. The president expressed gratitude for Nicaragua's efforts at many international forums to speak up for Taiwan's international participation. She also expressed hope that all aspects of the two countries' cooperative relationship would become even more friendly and closer in the future.
In remarks, the president first expressed thanks for the enthusiastic reception she received from the government and people of Nicaragua when she attended the inauguration, in January of 2017, of President Daniel Ortega Saavedra and Vice President Rosario Murillo. President Tsai asked the visiting delegation to pass along her appreciation to President Ortega and Vice President Murillo.
President Tsai stated that although Taiwan and Nicaragua are geographically far apart, the two countries have deep links in a wide variety of areas. In trade and economic ties, since the signing of the Taiwan-Nicaragua Free Trade Agreement in 2006, exports from Nicaragua to Taiwan have risen from US$8.6 million in that year to ten times that figure at present, ten years later. Taiwan has in fact become Nicaragua's largest market in Asia.
The president noted that after her visit to Central America in January of this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized an investment and procurement delegation that visited Nicaragua in early April to learn more about the investment environment there. She expressed hope that the two countries can work together to guide and encourage Taiwan firms to invest in Nicaragua and create a win-win situation based on the principles of mutual assistance for mutual benefits.
As for cultural exchanges, the president pointed out that from 2003 through 2016, 352 young people from Nicaragua received scholarships from Taiwan to come here for advanced study. There are at present 123 such scholarship students in Taiwan, including the children of Minister of Finance and Public Credit Ivan Acosta and Minister of Development, Industry and Commerce Orlando Solorzano, both of whom were at the meeting with President Tsai, creating a situation in which the friendly relations between the two countries can be passed along from generation to generation.
The president stated that exchanges between young students strengthen friendship between Taiwan and Nicaragua, and also help Nicaragua to develop trained professional manpower and enhance that country's competitiveness. In the future, Taiwan will continue promoting all types of exchange programs for mutual benefits and win-win situations.
The president also took the opportunity to express her deep and sincere gratitude for the fact that in recent years Nicaragua has, in many international forums, spoken up for Taiwan's international participation.
The president noted that this is Foreign Minister Moncada's first visit to Taiwan since being named to his post in January, and said she hoped that this trip would allow him to gain an even better understanding and greater knowledge of Taiwan. She also expressed her wish that cooperative ties between the two countries will grow even friendlier and closer during Foreign Minister Moncada's tenure in office.
The visiting delegation was accompanied by Nicaragua Ambassador to the ROC William Tapia.