Foreign Minister Wu presented miniature model patrol boat to Vice President Raynold Oilouch as a gift during a state banquet hosted by Palau on March 22. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)

Taiwan has formally signed a coast guard cooperation agreement with Palau to help enhance its capabilities in dealing with illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and crimes at sea in it marine sanctuary.

During the state banquet, March 22, hosted by the Palau government for President Tsai Ing-wen and her delegation, Taiwan is gifting Palau with a patrol boat to help stem maritime crime.

President Tommy Remengesau Jr. n his remarks thanked Taiwan for continuing to be a “staunch parner” of Palau as it prepares to close a part of its exclusive economic zone to commercial fishing by January 1, 2020.

“Tonight sees the handover of one of the most visible forms of this partnership through the new patrol boat for our coast guard. As our friends from Taiwan know all too well, as island states, securing our ocean spaces is vital to allow our respective national projects to flourish,” Remenegsau stated.

Vice President Raynold Oilouch and Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu signed the agreement.  Foreign Minister Wu also presented two miniature model patrol boats to Vice President Oilouch as gifts.

President Tsai in her remarks lauded Palau as a renowned tourist destination and she said Taiwan would continue to work with the country in other fields including marine conservation.

Tsai said Palau and Taiwan’s relationship “show that oceans do not separate us, but bind us together.”

Taiwan has also donated a total of $1 million to the marine sanctuary fund, a pledge it made in 2015 when the legislation was signed.

Remengesau said the new patrol boat” will augment our marine capabilities, strengthen our security, and be a vital tool in ensuring that the Sanctuary contributes to our sustainable development.”

Palau students currently on scholarships at the Taiwan Naval Academy would join the patrol boat crew when it’s officially delivered, Remengesau said

The Taiwanese naval patrol frigate Hsun Hu No. 7 took part in joint exercises with Palau’s Coast Guard on Saturday. (Bernadette H. Carreon)