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Ma visit to Caribbean allies under planning: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou's slated trip to Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the Caribbean is still being scheduled, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) David Lin said yesterday.

Lin said that neither a scheduled date nor a clear timeline have been set for Ma's visit to Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, even though MOFA has been preparing for the visit since the end of last year.

Lin's statement was in response to recent local media reports that Ma has been planning to visit the three Caribbean countries.

“Ma has visited most of the nation's diplomatic allies,” Lin said, “and the three countries in the Caribbean should be the goal for this year.”

According to Lin, the three Caribbean countries are important allies for Taiwan. Ma visited diplomatic allies in Africa last year, and this year Ma is intending to visit Taiwan's allies in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Lin said that Ma's visit to Taiwan's allies is among other critical jobs that MOFA has planned for this year, with improving international trade and economic cooperation between Taiwan and other countries another priority.

Regarding Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), the new Premier that will take over the Cabinet on Feb. 18, Lin said “MOFA will work closely with the Cabinet to enforce economic cooperation with the nation's important trade partners.”

According to Lin, MOFA is looking to create suitable conditions for Taiwanese trade integration with other countries, especially through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

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