This week’s visit by Taiwan Foreign Minister Jaushieh Joseph Wu highlighted the increasingly close ties between Marshall Islands and the Republic of China/Taiwan. But it also provided insight into future directions of the now 20-year-old relationship. In an interview with the Journal, Minister Wu emphasized repeatedly his vision to “institutionalize our cooperation.” In other words, setting up management systems to facilitate ongoing cooperation.
“This is something I want to see: that Taiwanese and Marshallese see eye-to-eye,” said Wu. “We work with you for our benefit and we work with you for your benefit.” It is already happening with more to come:
• Expansion of health cooperation through the existing Taiwan Health Center and, this week, establishment of a new “Wound Center,” at Majuro hospital.
• The long-running Taiwan Technical Mission at Laura that provides consistent and ongoing technical aid to farmers.
• This week’s signing of a cooperation agreement between law enforcement authorities of the RMI and ROC for increased coast guard and maritime surveillance work.
“We are looking beyond the current way of working with each other,” the Foreign Minister said. “We’ve already started with scholarships and capacity building for Taiwan to train young people for different job opportunities.”
Wu said he was “really touched” by his visit. “The Marshallese are among the best people, the nicest people I’ve ever seen,” he said, adding praise for RMI political leaders who advocate for Taiwan’s international recognition in such forums as the United Nations.
Wu said the personal links between “President Heine, the first female president of your country, and President Tsai, the first female president of Taiwan,” have set the environment for expanded cooperation. “Because of their personal affinity, I can see better relations coming up,” he said.
Read more about this in the November 23, 2018 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.