President Tsai Ing-wen has sent a letter to Pope Francis in response to the Papal Message for World Day of Peace 2018. The pope’s message was entitled “Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in Search of Peace.”
The president highlighted Taiwan’s history as a place of immigration, with the majority of the population having ancestors who at one time crossed the Taiwan Strait from mainland China. The first wave of immigrants, starting some 300 years ago, came to Taiwan seeking an escape from poverty. In the 20th century, a huge migration crossed the strait in 1949 on account of the Chinese civil war.
In today’s Taiwan, Tsai said there are 600,000 migrant workers in the country and 500,000 foreign spouses of Taiwanese nationals, mostly from Southeast Asia. She said Taiwan has embraced the pope’s call for a spirit of compassion towards the country’s immigrants in line with the country’s democratic values. She also mentioned Taiwan’s long-term aid to refugees in various parts of the world.
As the head of the Holy See, Pope Francis is the leader of Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in Europe. The full text of President Tsai’s letter to Pope Francis can be found on the website of the Office of the President, at english.president.gov.tw