Frigate Wu-Chang docked at the Malakal Port in Koror, Palau on April 18. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

Vice President and Justice Minister Raynold Oilouch said that the mere presence of Palau’s allies’ vessels within its waters helps deter illegal fishing and transnational crimes.

Oilouch, who was speaking in front of guests at the Malakal port during the welcoming ceremony for the arrival of the Taiwan “Fleet of Friendship” in Palau yesterday, April 18, said that Palau has been encouraging its allies like Taiwan, the United States, and Japan to assist the country in securing its vast ocean and by conducting frequent visits here.

“While the Fleet of Friendship is here as part of its goodwill tour around the globe, it provides us with the added benefit in terms of surveillance and patrol over our vast ocean,” Oilouch said in his speech.

The Taiwan navy officers together with officials from Palau government and the Taiwan embassy during a tour on Frigate Wu-Chang. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

Oilouch also reiterated that the visits of the Taiwan navy are important symbol of the two countries’ bonds and partnership.

The Vice President, along with other local government officials, welcomed the over 700 navy officers that arrived on its shores yesterday morning. The Taiwan navy brought with it three ships called the Flagship Pan-Shi, Frigate Wu-Chang, and Frigate Tien-Dan.

“A key component of the mission of the Fleet of Friendship is the promotion of people-to-people exchange amongst our people. This will further strengthen the strong relationship shared by the Republic of Palau and the Republic of China-Taiwan,” Oilouch said.

Oilouch added that Palau recognizes the “strong relationship and friendship” it has with Taiwan.

Taiwan’s fleet will be in Palau until April 20 and will conduct several activities such as drills, martial arts, and play basketball at the Belau National Gymnasium.

This is the fourteenth time that the fleet is visiting the country. In the past years, it embarked on a series of visits to countries in the South East Asia, Pacific islands, the Middle East, Africa, and Central America, and others.

La Fayette class patrol ship Frigate Wu-Chang will also be opened for the locals to tour today from 9am to 3pm.For entry, visitors are just required to show their identification card while children under 12 years old are exempted from the requirement except they needed to be accompanied by adults. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)