His chartered jet took off an
hour late and we are told that
Taiwanese Premier Yu Shyi-kun
and a thirty-eight-member
entourage should just now be
touching down at the Philip
Goldson International Airport.
The visit is the last leg of a trip
that included stops in Haiti, Panama and Costa Rica,
and will last less than twenty-four hours. What
Premier Yu will find is a Belizean government fully
committed to a mutually beneficial political and
economic embrace, even though the Belizean public
is still unable to reconcile that bilateral friendship
with an immigration policy which seems to be sold
to the highest bidder. Today, in advance of the visit,
News 5's Janelle Chanona canvassed opinion
amongst the Taiwanese community in Belize City.
Janelle Chanona, Reporting
Today dozens of flags graced fences along the
Northern Highway as the Taiwanese community in
Belize prepared to welcome the Premier of the
Republic of China on Taiwan, Yu Shyi-kun. This is
Premier Yu's first official visit since his appointment in
February of this year and is the last stop on his
Central American tour.
"He was, he's been at different levels of work in the
government, yeah he's a good man...very, very good.
Everybody is real happy that's why everybody puts up
their flags to welcome him."
According to the last national census conducted in
2000, there are approximately seven hundred
Taiwanese-born Belizeans, living primarily in the
Belize and Cayo Districts. But because of the language
barrier, it is believed the real number is much higher.
The Taiwanese have established themselves in Belize
in several economic areas especially in the agricultural
sector. Culturally, Taiwan has also made significant
donations to several important projects, like the
Museum of Belize.
Simon Quan, President, Belize Chinese Association
"Personally, I would say thank you for helping Belize
plenty...just like that so."
So what will the Taiwanese Belizeans tell the visiting
dignitary about their new homeland?
"The people are friendly, yeah sometimes they
friendly. And the environment is good...like you know,
we have fresh air, naturals around. I really appreciate
"I am satisfied with this kind of life, that's enough."
Reporting for News 5, I am Janelle Chanona.
Premier Yu and his delegation will have a full
schedule beginning with a dinner tonight, talks
tomorrow in Belmopan before returning to Belize
City for a tour of the Museum of Belize, a press
conference, the donation of two hundred thousand
dollars for a Garifuna Museum and the signing of a
joint communiqué. This is the third high level
Taiwanese visit in less than four years. Vincent
Siew, Premier in the previous Taiwanese
government, came in January 1999, while Vice
President Annette Lu visited in September 2000,
leaving the country just as Hurricane Keith arrived.
Viewers should note that while Taiwanese in Belize
maintain a high profile as large landowners and
investors, the majority of Chinese in Belize originate
in the Peoples Republic of China on the mainland.
These are the Chinese familiar to most Belizeans as
owners of small shops and restaurants in urban
areas throughout the country.