Thu, Sep 06, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Tsai meets Guatemalan Congress president

By Su Yung-yao and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

President Tsai Ing-wen, right, meets with Alvaro Arzu Escobar, president of the National Congress of Guatemala, at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with Alvaro Arzu Escobar, president of the National Congress of Guatemala, and his wife with the aim of cementing ties with the nation’s remaining diplomatic allies in Central America.

Since El Salvador switched diplomatic recognition from the Republic of China to the People’s Republic of China on Aug. 21, the government has worked to solidify ties with the nation’s remaining diplomatic allies in the region: Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Tsai said it was a pleasure to meet friends from Guatemala so soon after seeing Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales during a visit to Paraguay last month.

She also thanked Arzu for his unwavering support for Taiwan since becoming president of the Guatemalan Congress in January.

“Mr Arzu led the effort behind Guatemala’s support for Taiwan’s participation in the WHA [World Health Assembly] this year, and we are sure that Mr Arzu’s first visit to Taiwan will create many more opportunities for Taiwan-Guatemala cooperation,” Tsai said.

Despite support from diplomatic allies, Taiwan’s petition to attend the WHA’s 70th annual meeting in May as an observer was dismissed.

The government would periodically help businesses send purchasing groups to and invest in Central America to strengthen economic ties in the region, Tsai said, reaffirming her pledge in a speech at the Guatemalan Congress in January last year.

Tsai said she was honored to address the Congress, and the memory of her warm welcome is still vivid.

Tourism firms, chain beverage stores, agricultural importers and businesses in the coffee, cocoa and skincare industries have been interacting with Central America, Tsai said.

Taiwan-Guatemala cooperation in infrastructure, medicine and education continue to yield results, such as the establishment last month of a sea turtle rehabilitation center, Tsai said.

The center is to create economic benefits for Guatemala, as well as assist the sustainable development of its marine resources, she said.

Economic cooperation and mutual visits by high-ranking government officials would help foster closer relations between the two nations, Tsai added.

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