(L-R): Prime Minister Dr Honourable Kenny Anthony of St Lucia; Prime Minister Dean Barrow of Belize; President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan; Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris of St Kitts and Nevis; and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines
BELMOPAN, Belize -- Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou met in Belize on Wednesday with government leaders from four of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Caribbean, all of whom expressed hope that Ma's successor will continue to push bilateral relations with their countries.
Ma arrived in Belize earlier that day on the second stop of his last overseas trip before leaving office in May, and met with Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow.
During the meeting, Ma invited Barrow to attend president-elect Tsai Ing-wen's inauguration May 20, when Ma will conclude his maximum two-term tenure as president.
In response, Barrow expressed hope that Ma's successor will continue to enhance relations with Belize based on the existing foundation and that the two countries will carry out more exchanges.
Taiwan elected Tsai, its first female president, on January 16. During a bilateral meeting with Ma on Wednesday, the prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr Timothy Harris, and minister of agriculture, Eugene Hamilton, made a commitment to attend the inauguration in May.
“We look forward to witnessing the inauguration of the first woman president,” Harris told Ma, adding, “You must take some credit for creating an environment in which all women are encouraged.”
Ma and Barrow later held a roundtable meeting with Harris, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and Saint Lucia Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony.
Gonsalves voiced the hope that the prosperous relations between Taiwan and St Vincent and the Grenadines will continue. He also praised Ma for helping improve people's livelihoods in the two countries, adding his hope that Tsai will continue to push bilateral ties forward.
Harris also praised the solid and sustainable relations between Taiwan and his country.
Earlier that day, Ma attended a luncheon held in his honour by Belize Governor-General Sir Colville Young.
Ma expressed gratitude for Belize's staunch support for Taiwan's bid to participate in international organizations.