Palau leader Surangel Whipps in Taipei to start travel bubble

World | 29 Mar 2021 1:48 pm

Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr. arrived in Taiwan Sunday to initiate a Palau-Taiwan "travel bubble" that will have fewer entry restrictions, CNA reports.

In his first overseas trip since assuming office in January, President Whipps was welcomed by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on his arrival at Taoyuan International Airport on a China Airlines flight.

Whipps's ongoing five-day state visit, which lasts until April 1, makes him the first foreign head of state Taiwan has received since the coronavirus disease pandemic began in late 2019.

"Our Taiwanese brothers and sisters, greetings from the pristine paradise of Palau," Whipps said to the media at the airport.

The Palau leader said the "travel bubble," which is referred to as a "sterile corridor" in Palau, is the first between "two coronavirus disease-free, coronavirus disease-safe countries" in the world.

He aid Pulau trusts and believes what Taiwan has done as an example of a successful country in combating the virus and both allies have trust in each other.

"I think that is the basis of the beginning of the sterile corridor," he noted.

"So we look forward to welcoming many visitors from Taiwan to Palau, it will be an exclusive relationship for now.''

The visiting Palau delegation was accompanied by the U.S. ambassador to Palau and included Palau political leaders, health officials, and representatives from tourism businesses.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Whipps is scheduled to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and attend banquets hosted by Premier Su Tseng-chang and Wu during his stay in the country.


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