TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Belizean embassy in Taiwan on Friday (Sept. 17) held an online ceremony along with the Central American Trade Office, marking the 40th anniversary of the Central American nation and celebrating the flourishing ties it has with Taiwan.
Ambassador Dr. Candice Pitts delivered the opening remarks, thanking Taiwan for its friendship and close ties. She said that Belize and Taiwan place great importance on safeguarding territorial integrity and that they both understand and appreciate the significance of sovereignty.
Pitts said that although COVID-19 has affected Belize’s usual Independence Day festivities, the people must always celebrate the holiday. As the nation has reached 40 years of independence, it is vital that Belizeans remember the difficulties and agonies they faced to achieve freedom, she said.
The ambassador added that although their suffering was “visceral and innumerable,” Belizeans never bowed to their oppressors. She stressed the country’s freedom was achieved through struggle and sacrifice and said that those involved shall never fade from memory.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) also expressed her congratulations to the Central American country. She said that Taiwan has developed a close friendship with Belize, engaging in joint projects related to healthcare, infrastructure, and agricultural development.
President Tsai Ing-wen congratulates Belize on 40 years of independence. (Facebook screenshot)
The two countries have signed the Economic Cooperation Agreement, which will encourage more Taiwanese businesses to invest in Belize, she said, adding that deals in legal assistance and aviation services have also helped to expand bilateral cooperation.
The two have also worked “side by side” to fight the pandemic, sharing information and resources, the president said. She noted that Belize has actively spoken out in support of Taiwan’s international participation.
Tsai said she is deeply thankful for Belize’s support and friendship and that she hopes the two nations will continue strengthening their partnership.
Belizean Prime Minister John Briceño delivered a message saying he is committed to the betterment of Belizeans. He added that through “hopeful hearts, steady hands, together we will rise” to defeat the pandemic and continue building the nation.
Briceño said that Belize will confidently move forwards, adding, “The promise of prosperity for all will never be defeated or destroyed.” The prime minister mentioned that he is thankful for the great friendships it has with other nations, especially Taiwan.
Belizean Prime Minister John Briceño. (Facebook screenshot)
The presidents of Taiwan’s five government branches, members of the diplomatic corps, mayors of the nation’s six special municipalities, and Taiwanese businesses and related organizations also congratulated Belize on the 40th anniversary of its independence.
Additionally, the ceremony featured a dance performance by Belizean students in Taiwan and a mini quiz on Belizean history for which respondents could win a special prize.