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China can’t make friends through force: Palau President

Tommy Remengesau Jr. says mutual respect is key to international relations

Tommy Remengesau Jr.

Tommy Remengesau Jr. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – President of Palau Tommy Remengesau Jr. responded to a question about Chinese influence in the Pacific by saying international friendship is developed through mutual respect and hard work rather than force, during a press conference in Taipei on Nov. 13, reported CNA.

When asked about China’s efforts to limit Taiwan’s international participation, the president emphasized that mutual respect is key to international relations, irrespective of the size of the country.

Remengesau was welcomed to Taiwan on Nov. 10 with full military honors, and will stay until Nov. 14. During the visit, Remengesau met with senior Taiwanese politicians and visited research centers on fact finding missions.

During the press conference, Remengesau was asked about China’s efforts to persuade Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to switch allegiances, and said "it is difficult to force others to be friends with you."

Remengesau went on to say that friendship is developed through respect and hard work, and it is important for China to understand this.

Remengesau said democracy, freedom, human rights, and sovereignty are important values, and he hopes these principles can be upheld, and went on to say mutual respect is the only way we can all coexist.

When asked about Chinese purchases of land and houses in Palau, Remengesau said the country hopes to attract high quality investment, but simultaneously is focused on protecting the Micronesian nation’s environment. He said the government’s policies are not discriminatory, but rather emphasize the importance of environmental wellbeing.

Remengesau went on to praise Taiwanese investment in Palau, and said he looks forward to Taiwanese companies investing in high-end hotels.

In November 2017, the China National Tourism Administration ordered Chinese tour companies to suspend tour groups from visiting to Palau, as a means to pressure the country into breaking ties with Taiwan, severely impacting its tourism industry, and leading Palau Pacific Airways to indefinitely shut up shop.