US, Taiwan delegates visit St. Lucia in milestone collaboration

Trip comes as US moves to help Taiwan solidify relations with its allies

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U.S.-Taiwan delegation visits St. Lucia. (US Embassy Bridgetown Twitter photo)

U.S.-Taiwan delegation visits St. Lucia. (US Embassy Bridgetown Twitter photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A U.S.-Taiwan delegation is visiting Saint Lucia to promote private sector investment in the first such collaboration between Washington and Taipei.

The U.S. embassy in Bridgetown tweeted a photo on Thursday (Nov. 7) showing Taiwan’s ambassador to Saint Lucia, Douglas Shen (沈正宗), World Bank Executive Director Erik Bethel, Saint Lucia official Nancy Charles, and U.S. State Department official Cory Johnston on a trip to a Saint Lucian factory. Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, a neighboring country of the Caribbean nation.

The trip marked the first time Taiwanese and U.S. officials have joined together on a mission to explore business opportunities in Saint Lucia. The move demonstrated Washington’s support for Taiwan as it seeks to bolster ties with allies through a more active approach of providing investment rather than aid, CNA cited sources familiar with the matter as saying.

The Solomon Islands and Kiribati in September switched recognition from Taiwan to China amid Beijing’s campaign to dent the island’s position as a sovereign state. While Taiwan continues to face pressure from China in the international arena, it has received ever more solid support from the U.S., including the approval of TAIPEI Act by the Senate and more frequent exchanges spanning security, trade, and other areas.

Last month, Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hsu Szu-chien (徐斯儉) met with David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, at the White House. The two discussed Taiwan's plans to engage with diplomatic partners and the country's presidential election in 2020.