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(CNA) — Legislative Speaker Su Jia-chyuan arrived in St. Lucia Friday to attend the nation’s 40th independence anniversary celebrations on behalf of President Tsai Ing-wen.
In a Facebook post that same day, Su said that the purpose of his trip is not only to represent Tsai at the independence celebrations, but to strengthen relations between the legislative bodies of the two nations in his capacity as legislative speaker.
St. Lucia is among a handful of Caribbean countries with diplomatic relations with Taiwan, despite Beijing’s growing capacity to provide substantial investment.
Sun said in his Facebook post that he was greeted by House Speaker Andy Daniel and Senate President Jeannie Giraudy-McIntyre at the airport in a ceremony with military honors.
Describing St. Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet as an old friend, Su said his exhaustion from the long journey was swept away when Chastanet personally greeted him at his hotel, adding he hopes he will be able to deepen the friendship between two countries.
St. Lucia celebrates its Independence Day on Feb. 22, the date in 1979 when it became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The island first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984 but switched recognition to China in 1997.
In 2007 it severed ties with Beijing and recognized Taipei again, opening its embassy in Taipei in June 2015 and making it St. Lucia’s first embassy in Asia.