Panama City, Panama, March 9 (CNA) Taiwan signed an agreement with the Dominican Republic Monday to send volunteers there as part of Taiwan's efforts to facilitate technical cooperation and cement bilateral relations with its Caribbean ally.
The two countries' foreign ministers, Taiwan's Francisco H. L. Ou and the Dominican Republic's Carlos Morales Troncoso, signed the pact in a ceremony held at the foreign ministry of the Caribbean nation.
According to the pact, Taiwan will dispatch skilled and experienced volunteers from the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF) to map out cooperative programs and provide expertise in specified areas.
The ICDF, which carries out many of Taiwan's overseas aid programs, will also fund the volunteers’air fares, allowances, and equipment needed for the initiative.
In return, the Dominican Republic will provide shelter and transport for the Taiwanese volunteers, as well as grant them special privileges such as immunity that are commensurate with benefits offered to other international personnel on similar missions.
Meanwhile, Ou was also honored on the same day with the“Orden Heraldica de Cristobal Colon en el Grado de Gran Cruz Placa de Plata, " by Morales on behalf of Dominican President Leonel Fernandez Reyna, to honor Ou for his contributions to bilateral relations over the years.
Ou, who arrived early Monday morning in Santo Domingo, the Caribbean country's capital, said the Dominican Republic is an important diplomatic ally of Taiwan's, and that the Republic of China government will continue to cooperate with the Caribbean nation.
In addition, Ou donated US$150,000 on the government's behalf to assist with reconstruction work in the country's northern region stricken by a hurricane.
Ou is currently visiting Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the region to strengthen mutual relations, and is slated to return to Taiwan Friday.
(By K.C. Huang and Jian Chen)