President Whipps and Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-Chang

President Surangel Whipps Jr. is in Taiwan on his third day of visit to boost ties and promote Palau as a safe tourism destination.
Whipps will travel back on Thursday here with the first batch of Taiwanese tourists to formally launch the “travel bubble” between the two countries.
Greeted by the Taiwanese officials lead by Foreign Minister Joseph Wu on Sunday, Whipps in a brief statement at the airport said the bubble would be the first between a “COVID-19-free” and a “COVID-19-safe” country.
“We trust what Taiwan has done is an example of a successful country in combating COVID-19. We feel now that we can work together and feel safe,” he said. “We trust each other, and I think this is the basis of this sterile corridor,” Whipps said.
While in Taiwan, Whipps and his delegation are also traveling through a “bubble” with minimal contact with the community.
In a speech at the dinner hosted by Taiwan premiere Su Tseng-chang last night, Whipps said the COVID-19 is significantly impacting the country’s economy, which has been tourism-reliant.
The president said 42 percent of the workforce in the private sector is unemployed due to COVID-related border closure.
He said the tourists’ visit to Palau, “is really important for us economically,”
“Forty percent of our budget is being financed through loans because of the pandemic. So economically it is very important for us to keep the bubble going,“ he said.
He added that it is also important for Palau to be able to bring its citizens to Taiwan for medical treatment.
Whipps said his visit is also a show of the strong relationship between Palau and Taiwan. Taiwan and Palau he said “ shared the same values” in responding to COVID-19.
President Whipps is scheduled to meet with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen today,
This is the first off-island travel for President Whipps.

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