Sun, May 07, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Chen touts Taiwan in visit to Paraguay

`SUCCESS STORY' The president lauded the nation's democratic achievements and inaugurated a park built with Taiwanese sponsorship during his visit to Asuncion


Taiwan is the first ethnic Chinese society to have completed a peaceful transition to democracy and the most celebrated success story among ethnic Chinese communities around the world, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said during his visit to Paraguay on Friday.

Addressing a luncheon with a group of Taiwanese expatriates in the South American nation, Chen said that Taiwan is now a diverse and open society and promised that the country will improve even more in the future.

Although TV reports have depicted Taiwan as somewhat chaotic, this is a normal phenomenon since a free democracy such as Taiwan has a plurality of ideas, Chen said.

China's economic rise has not brought about democratic development and social openness, and Beijing has continued to treat people in China and Taiwan with violence and intimidation, Chen said.

Warm welcome

Chen arrived in Paraguay on Friday for a three-day visit and is set to depart today for Costa Rica, where he will attend president-elect Oscar Arias' inauguration.

Chen was welcomed by the Paraguayan government with military honors at the Asuncion Airport.

In a speech delivered at Paraguayan parliament, Chen expressed hope that Taiwan and Paraguay will enhance educational and cultural exchanges.

The successful education of Taiwan's people has made it the world's fifth most competitive country, and 42 Paraguayan students have studied in Taiwan through scholarships offered by the Taiwanese government, Chen said.

During Chen's meeting with Paraguayan President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, Duarte praised Taiwan for its economic prosperity and generosity in helping its diplomatic allies, pledged that Paraguay will always be the closest and most loyal ally of Taiwan and will continue to support Taiwan's bid to take part in international organizations.

Taiwan park

Meanwhile, a park built with Taiwan's sponsorship was inaugurated in the Paraguayan capital on Friday. The inauguration ceremony was jointly presided over by Chen and Duarte.

Taiwan Park, located in Parque Nu Guasu, represents the long-lasting friendship and close cooperation between Taiwan and Paraguay, Chen said.

Chen and his delegation later attended a state banquet hosted by Duarte.

Also in attendance were members of the Paraguayan Cabinet and military.

Before the banquet, Paraguay's first lady Maria Gloria Penayo de Frutos introduced Chen and the Taiwanese delegates to her sixth son -- who was conceived during her visit to Taiwan with Duarte in 2004 and was jokingly said to have been "made in Taiwan."

Later in his address, Chen called the boy "a son of Taiwan" and invited Duarte and his wife to visit again this year. Duarte accepted Chen's invitation to visit in October.

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