By Bongiwe Dlamini | 2020-02-21
ESWATINI will now be recognised among countries involved in humanitarian duties in the world.
This follows that the country has since received two state-of-the-art helicopters that were afforded by the Ministry of National Defence of Taiwan.
The two choppers were presented to His Majesty King Mswati III at Lozitha yesterday. Taiwan’s delegation was led by the Minister of National Defence Chang Guan Chung while the Taiwanese military members were led by Colonel Hu.
When explaining the specifics of the UH-1H Huey helicopters to the King, the Pilot in Command Lieutenant Nkhosivile Mkhatshwa said these were much bigger and stronger than the ones that Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) had been using all along.
These, according to Lieutenant Mkhatshwa, differed in that they were strong enough to withstand situations of natural disasters such as flooding.
He said in situations where there had been accidents involving a lot of people, the choppers could be used as airlifts and each could house six stretchers at once, plus one paramedic who can attend to accident victims while being rushed to hospital. Another advantage that comes with the new helicopters is that in periods of floods, each can accommodate about 20 people who can be transported to safety at once plus food. In addition to these are other specifics of benefit in terms of safety.
After receiving the choppers of such importance to the Kingdom of Eswatini, His Majesty expressed his utmost appreciation to the government of Taiwan for its continued support to the country’s programmes.
The King said Taiwan’s assistance to the country was so important in that Eswatini on its own had limitations that deferred the execution of some of its programmes.
His Majesty said the contribution by the Taiwan government to Eswatini was one of many, especially in military context as there were a number of Emaswati in the armed forces who have been trained in Taiwan, while there were also some Taiwanese who have received some training in Eswatini. As it stands, in addition to the two choppers afforded to the country, Taiwan has also trained five emaswati pilots; one of who is a female, and five local technicians who will look after the helicopters.
“We’re grateful for this gesture by the government of Taiwan, which is not the first in Eswatini. We have other social and infrastructure development programmes that have been supported by Taiwan before,’’ said the King.
On another note, His Majesty said yesterday’s presentation of the helicopters came at a time when Eswatini was also in the process of strengthening its own defence force. In this regard, the King said the Umbutfo Eswatini Defence Force (UEDF) was working at establishing a strong army that would contribute to the United Nations (UN), SADC and the whole world.
His Majesty further relayed that these helicopters with modified functions will aid the armed forces to assist during natural disaster situations by ensuring the safety of victims. Although such intense disasters have not been witnessed much in Eswatini, the King said these would also be used by the armed forces in assisting neighbouring countries in need.
In emergency periods in Eswatini, His Majesty stated that the two choppers would also be used by the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS), where they will conduct airlifts and a fast mode to transport accident victims to hospital.
Being a first world country, the King said Taiwan also shared its experiences of how they have developed over the years. He said Taiwan’s contribution to Eswatini’s development is a demonstration of what the country hoped to afford to other parts of the world.
The King said it was for this reason that Eswatini wanted to see Taiwan participating in the United Nation’s activities, where they can show the world what they could offer. “We hope that one day the world can accept you to be a member of the UN,’’ he concluded.
Nothing can separate us from Taiwan – minister
MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Senator Thuli Dladla said the long-standing relations between Eswatini and Taiwan were unbreakable.
Dladla was speaking at the Mandvulo Hall in Lozitha yesterday before the two helicopters were presented to His Majesty King Mswati III by the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) that was represented by its Minister of National Defence Chang Guan Chung.
The senator was asked what this presentation meant for the relations of the two countries. In her response, she mentioned that Taiwan and Eswatini had been good friends for 51 years, which she said was a long time to have such a close relationship broken.
Dladla further mentioned that these good relations were not based on material things, but on strong foundations of true friendship. “Who would want to lose such a friend?” she asked.
Emphasising on the good relations between the two countries, Taiwan’s Minister of National Defence Chang Guan Chung said Eswatini and Taiwan had been supportive of each other for a long time because the two governments have been able to make the best decisions.
With the deepening of the two countries’ relations with time, the minister said Taiwan would continue affording its support to Eswatini.
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