Hu leads giveaways of Taiwan-
made computers and bicycles in
its sister city, Kwajalein Atoll.
The Taichung team greets
Litokwa Tomein, President of
the Republic of the Marshall
Taichung team visits Kotak
Loeak, Chairman of Iroij
Council, and the officials of the
House of Commons.
The team meets Titus Langrine,
the Deputy Mayor of Majuro.
(Left to right) Director-general
of the Environmental Protection
Bureau Lee Li-Te, Director-
general of the Department of
Civil Mu Kuei-hsin, Director-
general of the Budget,
Accounting and Statistics Office
Jiang Jian-zhong & Director of
the Cultural Affairs Bureau
Journey to the West: The Signing of a Sister-City Agreement
Taichung City Government's sister-city tour group visits Kwajalein Atoll City, Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Words and photos by Taichung City Government
Translated by Ann Lee
During the ceremony that marked a sister-city agreement, Taichung's Mayor Jason Hu made a speech and gave away Taiwan-made bicycles and computers. In one afternoon, the tour group drove, flew, and even sailed until they finally arrived in Ebeye. This particular sister-city visit, and the journey there, won't be forgotten by the government team any time soon.
Continuing a lasting relationship
Located in the mid-western part of the Pacific Ocean, the Republic of the Marshall Islands has had official foreign relations with Taiwan since November 20, 1998, and has always been a supporter for Taiwan's bid in participating in international bodies and organizations. On May 16, 2002, Taichung officially became Kwajalein Atoll's sister city.
Last year, a tour group from Kwajalein Atoll visited Taichung. During their visit, they invited Mayor Hu to come to their island. The trip was on after the presidential election for the Republic of the Marshall Islands earlier this year; Tony deBrum, the newly-elected Foreign Minister wrote an official letter to Hu, inviting him to visit Kwajalein Atoll City at the end of July.
A hospitable welcome party
Taichung's tour group arrived at Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands, at 4:05 a.m. At the airport, the group was met by Amenta Matthew, the Minister of Health (Deputy Foreign Minister), Ministry of Foreign Affairs' officials, Ambassador Bruce J.D. Linghu from the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and members of the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission.
Foreign Minister deBrum, who was attending a meeting overseas, also made the effort to hasten his return to the Marshall Islands, just to host the welcoming dinner. At this dinner party, deBrum and Mayor Hu both made speeches and the Taichung City Symphony Orchestra Quartet performed. The entire welcome party was broadcast and re-broadcast on local radio stations, publicly expressing the solid relationship between Taichung and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Mayor Hu's visits H.E. President Litokwa Tomeing
After settling in, the group's first stop was a visit to H.E. President Litokwa Tomeing at the presidential office. After giving the welcome speech and personally thanking the Taichung tour group for leaving Taiwan during typhoon season, President Tomeing had critical affairs to attend to and left the group with Christopher Loeak, the Minister in Assistance to the President (the same status as a vice president). He also thanked Hu for creating and keeping ties with his country throughout his years in the office as the Foreign Minister. Mayor Hu gave a brief speech afterwards. He said that, although he had left the position of Foreign Minister, he had still kept close ties and friendships with the people of the Marshall Islands and hoped that the two cities could push forward, forming stronger bonds with tourism, education and culture.
Mayor Hu also spoke on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou as well, expressing that he firmly believed in the ties that Taiwan and the Republic of the Marshall Islands would establish on this trip. Ma asked Mayor Hu to stress how important he felt this union would be in the future. The president, via Hu, added: "The Marshall Islands and my name 'Ma Ying-jeou' already have a special connection--both names start with 'Ma', not to mention the 'Ma'juro is Taipei's sister city." He went on to add that this connection would be the union of the "Ma"s and, through that union, the two islands would be just like family.
Soon after, the tour group went on to greet Kotak Loeak, Chairman of Iroij Council; Jurelang Zedkaia, Speaker of Nitijela; and the Secretary-General, Joe Riklon. Since most of them are already acquaintances of Mayor Hu, they were invited to come to Taiwan for President Ma's Inauguration Ceremony back in May this year.
The next day, Mayor Hu and his tour group went on to visit the Titus Langrine, the Deputy Mayor of the Majuro City Government, who represented the mayor during Hu's visit. Apart from thanking Mayor Hu for visiting the city, Langrine also mentioned that their city hall was made possible by funds donated by Mayor Hu during his period as the Foreign Minister.
After making the rounds with local government officials and forging better relationships, the Taichung tour group got to tour the area, even visiting local environmental protection facilities the next day. Mayor Hu gave his appreciation speech and said that, even though Majuro and Taichung were not officially sister cities, they could still be brothers. The Deputy Mayor then gave Hu an appreciation certificate, which was a pleasant ending to a smooth, successful visit by the Taichung City Government team.