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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, left, exchanges greeting with Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-Jeou in Taipei earlier this month (Photo: Office of the Prime Minister).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves was expected to return to the state Wednesday after an official visit to Taiwan and stops in England and France, according to a government release.

Gonsalves left St. Vincent on May 16 to attend the second term inauguration of Ma Ying-jeou as president of Taiwan.

Gonsalves and his five-member delegation, which included his wife Eloise Gonsalves, Press Secretary Hans King, police Sergeant Benzyl Samuel, photographer Reynold “Lance” Neverson, and nurse Jacqueline Browne-King, arrived in Taipei on 18 and met with Vincentian students studying in Taiwan the following day.

During the meeting with the Vincentian students Gonsalves updated them on the progress of the work on the international airport project at Argyle. He also told the students that there are employment opportunities at home and the rest of the region and urged them not to be afraid to take chances and risk.

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He also updated them on the proposed new city at E.T Joshua Airport in Arnos Vale, noting that “this is not a pipe dream.” Students were also briefed on the proposed new port for capital Kingstown as well as several other projects.

On May 20, Gonsalves and the delegation attended the inauguration ceremony of Ma and Gonsalves was among several worlds leaders who congratulated Ma on his second term.

On May 21, Gonsalves met with Ma and both leaders discussed the further cooperation between both countries.

Among the issues Ma proposed was a solar power project which Taiwan is already collaborating on with its African allies. Ma also thanked Gonsalves for his continued vocal support for Taiwan on the international arena. In his response Gonsalves thanked Ma for Taiwan’s “immense contribution to our development.” He highlighted the international airport project and reminded Ma of Taiwan’s commitment to consider further assistance for any increase in construction cost for the terminal building.

The meeting with Ma was followed in the afternoon by a speech by Gonsalves to students of the Department of Diplomacy at the National Chengchi University, one of the top universities in Taiwan.

Gonsalves and his delegation departed Taiwan on May 23. Three member of the delegation King, Samuel and Neverson returned to St. Vincent while PM Gonsalves, Mrs. Gonsalves, and Browne-King travelled to England.

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