REPUBLIC OF PALAU, REPUBLIC OF CHINA

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GOVERNMENT OF PALAU Office of the President Koror, Palau

Press Release December 30, 1999

OPEN DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

The Republic of Palau and the Republic of China today issued a joint communiqué announcing the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two governments at the ambassadorial level.

The decision of Palau to further develop and deepen its relationship with Taiwan comes in the wake of several other recent movements by Palau to expand its international ties, particularly with those nations within the Central-Western Pacific and Asia.

The National Government -- noting this year’s acceptance of full ambassadorial representation from Thailand and Japan, ongoing efforts to establish greater trade with the Republic of the Philippines, and discussions on several levels with a number of the members of the South Pacific Forum to increase intra-regional commerce -- described today’s announcement as just one more example of Palau’s maturing role in setting its own international priorities.

Officials in Palau characterized the opening of diplomatic ties with the Republic of China as the natural next step in the relationship between the two countries, pointing out that Taiwan continues to be a source of very substantial tourism dollars for Palau, that Taiwanese investors have become a major force for the growth of significant projects and enterprises in Palau, and that Taiwan is one of only four nations (the U.S., Japan, and the Philippines are the others), which have regular direct flights to and from Palau.

"The Republic of Palau and the Republic of China have a history of mutually beneficial relations, which extends back many years. We want to see that continue and even become more fruitful for both governments. The opening of formal diplomatic relations, with corresponding improvements in direct communications and the greater understanding which arises there from, is the best and most appropriate way to make that happen," according to Minister of State Sabino Anastacio.

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