19 Oct 2006

Taiwan aid now accounts for 12 percent of Marshalls budget

2:29 pm on 19 October 2006

Taiwan says its aid to the Marshall Islands has increased, with its direct funding now accounting for more than 12 percent of the Marshalls national budget.

Taiwan's ambassador in Majuro, Lien-gene Chen, says since setting up diplomatic ties eight years ago Taiwan has become the second leading aid donor to the Marshall Islands next to the United States.

Mr Chen says since last year, Taiwan has contributed 9 million US dollars of a promised 50 million dollar contribution to a new Marshall Islands trust fund that is also being supported by U.S. government.

Taiwan's contributions will average about 2.5 million dollars a year for the next 17 years, while the U.S. injected 8 million dollars this year, and is increasing its trust fund contribution by half a million dollars annually with the goal of ending U.S. grant aid in 2023.

The Marshall Islands will host next year's Taiwan Pacific Allies Summit, and Mr Chen says his government has committed to build a new convention center and a residential village for the seven heads of state at an estimated of more than three million dollars.