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Kiribati president begins six-day visit to Taiwan

TAIPEI -- Kiribati President Anote Tong has commenced a six-day visit to Taiwan, during which he will meet with President Ma Ying-jeou and attend a meeting of the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians' Union, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

During his visit that will last until Aug. 8, the president of the South Pacific ally is also scheduled to call on Foreign Minister David Lin and Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, the ministry said in a statement released Sunday.

On Tuesday, he will give a speech at the 44th annual conference of the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians' Union in Taipei, the ministry added.

Tong will also call on officials of the Council of Agriculture and the Ministry of Labor, as well as inspect the operations of Kiribati's embassy in Taiwan, the ministry said.

Since Kiribati and the Republic of China established diplomatic ties in 2003, the two countries have maintained cooperation in areas of agriculture, medicine, clean energy and human resources, the ministry said.

A close friend of Taiwan, the Kiribati president has voiced support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the ministry said.

Established in Tokyo in 1965, the Asian-Pacific Parliamentarians' Union aims at achieving and preserving freedom and democracy. Its members are from various Asia-Pacific countries, including Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, the Marshall Islands and the Philippines.

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Kiribati President Anote Tong, right, talks with President Ma Ying-jeou at the Presidential Office in Taipei, yesterday. (CNA)

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