His Excellency Ma Ying-Jeou
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
April 19, 2010 (CUOPM)
The Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis, also known as St. Kitts, has upgraded the post of its representative to Taiwan from Charge d’Affaires to Resident Ambassador.
Her Excellency Ms. Jasmine Huggins, St. Kitts and Nevis’ first Ambassador to Taiwan, presented her letters of credence to Taiwan’s President His Excellency Ma Ying-jeou on Monday in Taipei.
Ms. Huggins said at a reception later in the day that her new appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary signals a deepening of the friendship between St. Kitts and Nevis and Taiwan and is a significant milestone in her diplomatic career.
“When I was asked to come to Taiwan to establish the (St. Kitts and Nevis) embassy in December 2007, I could not have imagined that my acceptance of that grave responsibility would have taken me on this remarkable journey that would grant me such enormous professional and personal satisfaction,” she said.
“The beauty of this country, the richness of its culture and the warmth of its people quickly eroded any doubts that assailed me, and made a difficult task manageable,” said Ambassador Huggins.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Embassy in Taiwan was established 2007, 24 years after the two countries sealed diplomatic relations. The office was set up amid a growing trend of students from the Caribbean country coming to Taiwan to study.
Even so, there are only about 15 students from St. Kitts and Nevis studying at universities in Taiwan at the moment. But Huggins said one of her aims is to expand this area of cooperation between Taiwan and St. Kitts and Nevis.
“I shall endeavor to vigorously pursue the educational opportunities that exist in the Republic of China for the youths of the federation wishing to further their studies,” she pledged.
“Our people-to-people exchanges, whether political, cultural or educational, can only serve to foster understanding, engender respect and build lasting relationships that would serve us in good stead in years to come.” Another of the ambassador’s stated priorities is to promote her country as a competitive market for investment opportunities in areas such as tourism, light manufacturing, information technology and agriculture.
“I will assiduously work to create partnerships that would bind our countries ever closer as we pursue the collective purpose of improving the quality of life for our citizens. So potential investors from Taiwan whose ideas and energies are in sync with those of our federation would find a welcoming and attractive business climate,” she said.
At the reception, Director-General of the 3rd Bureau of the Presidential Office, Hou Ping-fu described Huggins as a highly experienced diplomat who understands where the priorities lie in the relations between Taiwan and St. Kitts and Nevis.
He said the frequent visits by high level officials between the two countries are an indication of the importance the two sides attach to the ties that they share.
St. Kitts and Nevis and Taiwan established diplomatic relations in 1983, immediately after the Caribbean nation gained independence from Britain. The island country is one of Taiwan’s five allies in the Caribbean region.