Taipei, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (???) denied Wednesday an allegation that Taiwan has donated US$1.7 million to the Kingdom of Swaziland for its upcoming celebrations in which President Tsai Ing-wen (???) will participate.
According to a report released April 4 by Swazi Media Commentary, Taiwan has already donated the US$1.7 million toward the cost of the celebrations later this month.
The celebrations will mark the 50th anniversary of Swaziland's independence from the United Kingdom and its establishment of diplomatic relations with Taiwan, as well as the 50th birthday of reigning King Mswati III.
Tsai is scheduled to embark April 17 on a five-day trip to the African diplomatic ally, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Asked to comment, Wu told lawmakers that the report is ungrounded.
However, he disclosed that the ministry will in fact pay for a fireworks display at the end of the celebrations, but declined to disclose the actual cost, although he did say that the cost is less than the US$1.7 million reported in the Swazi media.
Taiwanese business representatives will also donate teaching materials to local schools during Tsai's visit, Wu added.
According to MOFA's previous statement, Tsai's delegation will travel on direct flights to and from the country, with no layovers.
During their time in the kingdom, the delegation will not only meet with local officials but will also inspect many of the medical, agricultural and educational initiatives that Taiwan has undertaken in Swaziland.
Tsai will also meet with members of the overseas Taiwanese community in southern Africa.
Swaziland is one of Taiwan's two diplomatic allies in Africa, the other being Burkina Faso.
Tsai will not visit Burkina Faso on this occasion because the country has its own important international events to attend to and will be unable to receive the president during the time she will be in Africa, according to MOFA.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel