HILARY HOSIA and ISAAC MARTY
Not every day you see Foreign Minister John Silk “rock the night away” with microphone in hand performing for a large crowd — such was the scene last Thursday during the Presidential dinner at the Marshall Islands Resort’s pool area in honor of Republic of China, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Dr. David Tawei Lee and his entourage.
Silk’s solo performance prompted the ROC delegation to perform a local song, an opportunity former Ambassador to RMI Winston Chen took by the horns.
“I’m impressed with the overall performance between our two countries since I was here 20 years ago when we first started our bilateral relationship,” Minister Lee said during his speech. Lee commended President Hilda Heine for her leadership, adding that she and the president of Taiwan have a lot in common and that both are women of education.
Earlier that day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack and Resources and Development Minister Alfred Alfred, Jr. gave Lee a royal welcome on the Amata Kabua International Airport tarmac.
Lee visited Parliament Speaker Kenneth Kedi, spent quality time with the local Taiwanese community for breakfast, joined the signing of the patient referral service to Shuang Ho Hospital, inspected the Taiwan Embassy, donated $50,000 for the Constitution Day festivities and visited the new training center at the Taiwan Technical Mission at Laura.
During the opening ceremony of the new training center at the Taiwan Mission in Laura, R&D Minister Alfred mentioned that while fisheries, construction, transport services and education are key drivers of growth for Marshall Islands, agriculture is not. He added that the presence of the Taiwan Technical Mission plus the establishment of the new agriculture training center can surely be a catalyst for such a transformation.
“We gather here this morning to witness yet another significant sign of good relations and commitment between our republic and our friends from ROC toward servicing the needs and enhancing the quality of life here in the islands,” Mayor Ladie Jack said. “No words can express how grateful we are for your continued assistance.”
Marshall Islands patients with orthopedic (bone), cancer, and heart-related problems can now be referred to Shuang Ho Hospital in Taiwan on a regular basis following Thursday’s signing of service contracts between the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Shuang Ho Hospital.
“Thanks to our sister hospital, we can ‘dream big’,” said Health Minister Kalani Kaneko. The relationship for the two hospitals has grown to “that of a husband and wife.”
Officials from RMI and Taiwan governments including visiting ROC Foreign Minister Lee were present at the ceremony.
Read more about this in the April 21, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.