St. Lu­cia opens its first em­bassy in Asia in the ROC

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

Mak­ing the R. O. C. the first coun­try in Asia in which St. Lu­cia has es­tab­lished an em­bassy, the Caribbean coun­try yes­ter­day opened its em­bassy in Tai­wan in a con­crete move to show strong bi­lat­eral ties.

Speak­ing dur­ing an in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony for the em­bassy in Taipei yes­ter­day, St. Lu­cia For­eign Min­is­ter Alva Bap­tiste said the launch of the em­bassy is meant to fur­ther strengthen bi­lat­eral ties.

“We could not have a diplo­matic re­la­tion­ship with­out hav­ing a phys­i­cal pres­ence in Tai­wan,” he said.

Open­ing an em­bassy will al­low the two coun­tries to have even closer ex­changes and al­low St. Lu­cia to bet­ter learn from Tai­wan’s suc­cess­ful ex­pe­ri­ences in eco­nomic growth, he said.

Vis­it­ing St. Lu­cia Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony yes­ter­day also joined the event to show that his gov­ern­ment has deeply val­ued the two- way ties.

Also present were Tai­wan For­eign Min­is­ter David Lin (

) and Tai­wan Am­bas­sador to St. Lu­cia James Chang ( ), among other lo­cal and for­eign diplo­mats.

“The open­ing of the em­bassy marks a new mile­stone in cor­dial re­la­tions of two coun­tries and a ma­jor step for­ward to ce­ment­ing bi­lat­eral ties,” Lin said in his re­marks.

It will also ben­e­fit St. Lu­cian stu­dents in Tai­wan, he said. There are cur­rently 80 St. Lu­cian stu­dents study­ing in the coun­try.

St. Lu­cia first es­tab­lished diplo­matic ties with Tai­wan in 1984, but switched recog­ni­tion to China in 1997. In 2007, af­ter 10 years of re­la­tions with Bei­jing, the then- rul­ing United Work­ers Party gov­ern­ment re­newed ties with Taipei af­ter it com­ing into of­fice.

An­thony, whose St. Lu­cia La­bor Party had diplo­matic rela- tions with Bei­jing in the past, pre­vi­ously pledged to re­view diplo­matic re­la­tions with Tai­wan af­ter he was elected prime min­is­ter in Novem­ber 2011.

He an­nounced in Septem­ber 2012 that his gov­ern­ment would con­tinue to main­tain re­la­tions with the R. O. C.

His La­bor Party, how­ever, main­tains close re­la­tions with the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party ( CCP). Bap­tiste pre­vi­ously vis­ited China un­der the ca­pac­ity of sec­ond deputy leader of the party in re­sponse to an in­vi­ta­tion sent by the CCP in 2012.

Asked to com­ment on the visit, Bap­tiste yes­ter­day said that the La­bor Party does have a “his­tor­i­cal re­la­tion­ship” with the CCP. “Po­lit­i­cal par­ties do have their own as­so­ci­a­tions. But we in the gov­ern­ment must have to do what is the best in­ter­est for the coun­try,” he noted.

There is no am­bi­gu­ity that St. Lu­cia has strong ties with the R. O. C., and the Caribbean coun- try pledges to fur­ther bi­lat­eral re­la­tions as ex­em­pli­fied by the open­ing of the em­bassy, he said.

Say­ing that the in­au­gu­ral cer­e­mony of the em­bassy is like a wed­ding cer­e­mony be­tween St. Lu­cia and Tai­wan, Bap­tiste re­it­er­ated sta­ble mu­tual ties by stress­ing that “there would be no di­vorce.”

CNA

St. Lu­cia Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony, left, and Tai­wan For­eign Min­is­ter David Lin ( ), right, to­gether un­veiled the plaque of the St. Lu­cia Em­bassy in Tai­wan yes­ter­day in Taipei.

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