Prominent Palauan passes away in Taiwan

The Chairman of the Palau’s Council of Chiefs, Ibedul Yutaka Miller Gibbons, passed away in a Taiwan hospital yesterday, November 4, at the age of 77.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Joanna Ou expressed sincere condolences to the family of the High Chief of Koror and pledged that Taiwan’s ROC government will to its utmost to assist the family in dealing with related matters.

Ou said that the Director of the Department of Asia-Pacific Affairs had visited Chief Gibbons during his hospitalization to express good wishes on behalf of Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked Taiwan’s Ambassador to Palau to represent the government and people of Taiwan in expressing condolences to Chief Gibbon’s sister Queen Bilung Gloria Salii, other family members, and the Palauan Government.

The Chief of Koror was an important traditional leader of Palau. He held an important position in the country and was widely loved by the people. The Chief of Koror and his sister Queen Salii, have always firmly supported the friendship between Palau and Taiwan, Ou said.

The Office of the President of the Republic of Palau announced the death of Gibbons with great sadness. “A terrible bereavement has befallen our people,” the statement read, describing the passing of the Paramount High Chief as “untimely.”

Born in 1944, Gibbons worked as a United States Army cook before becoming a high chief and anti-nuclear activist. In the 1970s, Gibbons successfully fought for a constitution prohibiting the use, testing, storage, or disposal of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in Palau. Gibbon’s anti-nuclear activism won him a Right Livelihood Award in 1983.

Left to right: Minister of Health and Welfare, Chen Shizhong, Chairman of the Council of Chiefs Ibedul Gibbons, and President Tsai Ing-wen at breakfast meeting March, 2019. Picture: Presidential Office.
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