BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 13, 2017 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The bilateral relationship between the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan) was further cemented following a successful visit by Prime Minister, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris to Taiwan from June 5-9.

“I am of the firm view that the bilateral relations between our two countries have been strengthened. Taiwan appreciates the constancy and the sincerity of our friendship and it is committed to be a country on which we can depend,” Prime Minister Harris said during Tuesday’s sitting of the National Assembly.

During the visit, which came at the invitation of the Taiwanese Government, the Prime Minister held fruitful discussions with President of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Her Excellency Dr. Tsai Ing-Wen; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Honorable David Lee Ta-wei; Her Excellency Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, Honorable Chang Hsiao-yueh; the Head of Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), James C.F. Huang; the Major of Kaohsiung, the Honourable Ms. Chen Chu; the Magistrate of Kinmen and several businessmen.

Prime Minister Harris noted that official visits of this nature between St. Kitts and Nevis and Taiwan are nothing new, since the establishment of bilateral relations in 1983.

“Every country large or small has utilized the good offices of the Head of the Government and the Head of the State in pursuance of a state-to-state diplomacy, and effective diplomacy often times requires face to face meetings, interactions and discussions in which ideas can be expressed frankly and persuasively. As one of our most important government to government relationships, and as has been the practice since the establishment of diplomatic relations 34 years ago, government officials from Saint Kitts and Nevis have, in keeping with diplomatic norms, visited Taiwan, showing solidarity and steadfastness, while exploring new ways to strengthen and deepen the bilateral relationship,” Dr. Harris stated.

“This long-standing tradition has transcended personages, and government in both countries as recently as 2016, which given Taiwan’s political shift and pressure, increases the need for these visits. In addition, also in the context of Taiwan, nurturing a relationship between two new leaders has and is a significant step in the respective countries.”

The prime minister further noted that as a direct result of his recent visit and meetings, St. Kitts and Nevis stands to benefit in a number of areas including financial support for the construction of the new Basseterre High School, financial support for infrastructure, financial support for public health initiatives, capacity building initiative in support of good governance and accountability and financial support for the construction of an independent home for Parliament.

Prime Minister Harris said, “These are new areas that fall within the mandate of my government. These are areas of felt need for the country. The securing of these commitments means that my government will be able to deliver more to our people. This is our commitment to our people.”