My name is Ernesto Cooke, on behalf of News784, I must express thanks to His Excellency Ambassador Ho, for affording us this one on one, casual interview. The people of Taiwan are truly a humble people, they believe in humanity above all.
Below is the text from an interview held on Tuesday 11th December 2018.
Ernesto: How do you enjoy your life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? What was the most impressive thing to you so far?
Thank you for having me with you today. It is an honour and a great pleasure for me to serve in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as the 6th Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan). I have been here for 8 months by now and enjoy the Vincentian life very much.
In my previous 29-year diplomatic career, I mainly worked in countries in North America and Europe and never had opportunities to come to this region.
Upon my arrival in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in April, I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of green mountains, black and white sand beaches, sky-blue and crystal-clear water, and the warm friendliness of Vincentians.
The most impressive thing to me is no doubt the friendliness and support shown to me and my country by the Vincentian friends I have met here.
Every time I participated in local events or activities, there were always Vincentians telling me how much they thank Taiwan and support the relationship between our two countries.
A very good example comes to my mind now is the occasion of the Ceremony in Commemoration of the Renovation of the Yurumein Taiwan Friendship Bridge held in September.
Through interactions with local leaders and residents at the event, I fully learned that how meaningful and important our job is.
Ernesto: What is the main goal of your duties here? How will you describe the current relationship between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
I would like to first indicate that my country, the Republic of China (Taiwan), has enjoyed a comparatively young but mature democracy, which is deemed a paradigm in our region.
In the meantime, we are also very proud of the achievements on our economic development. This lays the good foundation of our international outreach.
As we know, our two countries formally established diplomatic ties on 15 August 1981, and the bilateral relations have been growing steadily and cherished by us ever since. Our bilateral technical cooperation commenced even earlier and has lasted for 40 years.
Taiwan has been a loyal and faithful partner to St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the way of its national development in many areas, such as infrastructure, agriculture, public health, information technology, education, human resources, and so on.
My main role here is to closely work together with our Vincentian partners to continuously strengthen and broaden these ties between our two countries.
Furthermore, I would like to highlight that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been a strong supporter for Taiwan’s bids for international participation.
We are deeply grateful for it. I am very confident that the bilateral relations will be further strengthened in the future.
Ernesto: Talking about the international participation, you have mentioned that Taiwan is grateful for St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ unwavering and vocal endorsement for Taiwan’s bid for international participation at several occasions. Could you tell us more in this regard?
With pleasure! Taiwan is a responsible member in the international community. We have contributed to the international community through many ways, such as providing humanitarian aid, promoting cultural exchanges, etc.
At the same time, my government has the responsibility to safeguard its peoples’ well-beings in the international community.
We therefore look forward to the opportunity to meaningfully participate in international organisations.
Our current priorities are to seek for the participation in WHA, INTERPOL, UNFCCC and ICAO.
Every year, with the strong support of our diplomatic allies, we continue to make great efforts to bid for our participation in those international organisations.
For example, in May this year, a month after I came to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in April, the Hon. Luke Browne, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment spoke out for Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
Later in September, Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves appealed to the United Nations to open its arms to Taiwan and urged for respecting the right of Taiwan’s participation in the work of specialized agencies of the UN during his speech at the General Debate.
In November, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce Sir Louis Straker also called for Taiwan’s professional, pragmatic and constructive participation in the UNFCCC, as well as Taiwan’s participation as an observer in INTERPOL, by sending letters to Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and Secretary-General of the INTERPOL.
All of these are highly appreciated by the government and the people of my country.
Ernesto : We know that many Vincentian students study in Taiwan currently.
Every year some Taiwanese charity organisations provide many humanitarian items to the underprivileged children and women here.
How can the cooperation between our two countries benefit our youth, especially, the underprivileged people?
“Youth” and “education” are always the priorities of mutual cooperation between our two countries.
Let’s take the Taiwan Scholarship being presented recently as an example. It was launched in 1998 by our government, 20 years ago. It aims to provide financial assistance to underprivileged students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Since 1998, the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has provided scholarships to Vincentian students from primary, secondary, tertiary schools and the Community College.
Moreover, last August, 20 more Vincentian students went to Taiwan to pursue higher academic degrees under our scholarship programmes.
It takes the total number of Taiwan Scholarship recipients to 163 since 2004.
My government also shares the goal of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to be supportive of the underprivileged children and women.
With the support of some Taiwanese NGOs, many humanitarian items and fabrics have been provided continuously to the financially challenged families, children and women.
I am convinced that our NGOs will continue to lend their support to St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the future.
Ernesto: Now it is the end of 2018, would you like to say a few words to our readers and the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in terms of the relationship between our two countries in 2019?
I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciations to all our Vincentian friends for their friendship and support to me and my country.
In this auspicious season, I wish all Vincentian friends a Merry Christmas and a very successful and prosperous Year of 2019!