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eSwatini king observes military exercises, welcomed by 21-gun salute, treated with great courtesy in Taiwan

As Taiwan's only African ally, eSwatini King Mswati Ⅲ arrived in Taiwan on June 6, his 17th visit over the years

President Tasi Ing-wen and King MswatiⅢ witness the signing of an ECA on June 8

President Tasi Ing-wen and King MswatiⅢ witness the signing of an ECA on June 8 (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After observing the Han Kuang military exercises with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) Thursday morning in Taichung, the king of the African nation of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland), Mswati Ⅲ, was welcomed by grand military honors and a 21-gun salute at the Presidential Office Friday.

The welcome ceremony was followed by a bilateral meeting held between the leaders of the two countries. Afterwards, President Tsai and King Mswati Ⅲ also witnessed the signing of an Economic Cooperation Agreement intended to further mutual relationships on trade and investment.

During her remarks, President Tsai mentioned that the year 2018 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Taiwan and eSwatini. “I hope we can continue to strengthen the ties of the two countries by reciprocal means of cooperation and trade,” she said.

Speaking in front of the leader of the only diplomatic ally in Africa, the president said Taiwan would not resort to dollar diplomacy, nor would it isolate itself from international society.

"We conduct collaboration plans after fully discussing and planning with our allies, so that the people of our allies can truly feel the changes brought by those plans," said President Tsai, emphasizing that her administration is dedicated to the so-called steadfast diplomacy.

After Burkina Faso severed ties with Taiwan late in May, eSwatini became the only African state recognizing Taiwan as a country. China, which is preparing a Forum on China–Africa Cooperation, scheduled for September in Beijing, is believed to continue attempts to poach Taiwan’s remaining allies, including eSwatini.

King Mswati Ⅲ, who has visited Taiwan 17 times, talked about his experience in observing the military exercises and said he was impressed by the discipline and performances of the military.

The African king said Taiwan is like his second home, and that as a friend of Taiwan, eSwatini will continue to support Taiwan despite its facing challenges participating in the international community.

In addition, King Mswati Ⅲ expressed gratitude toward the Taiwan government for consenting to partially sponsor the facilities requested by the country, such as hotels and international conference centers, as eSwatini is preparing to hold the Africa Summit in 2020.

Apart from meeting with President Tsai and other senior officials of the Taiwan government, the African king, whose visit will last through June 12, will also participate in his son’s college graduation ceremony on Saturday.