Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos Geyer, accompanied by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), received a military welcome yesterday morning, with both leaders expressing their confidence in bilateral ties between the two states.
Chen presided over a welcome salute for Bolanos, who led a 17-member delegation to Taipei on Monday for a four-day visit, the first official visit made by the 74-year-old Nicaraguan leader to Taiwan since his inauguration in January.
In his speech, Chen expressed his gratitude to Nicaragua for the country's longstanding support for Taiwan's bid to re-enter the UN.
Chen highlighted Nicaragua's firm support for Taipei's bid to gain observer status in the WHO at the annual meeting of the body's highest-level decision-making meeting, the World Health Assembly (WHA), which took place in Geneva from May 13 to last Saturday.
After the 21-gun salute at the CKS Memorial Park in the morning, the two heads of state held their first bilateral meeting at the Presidential Office, according to a Presidential Office press release.
During the talks, Chen said that the timing of Bolanos' arrival, Monday, was very "meaningful" as it was the second anniversary of Chen's inauguration.
That Bolanos is visiting Taipei less than four months after his inauguration in January is indicative of the firm ties between the two countries, the press release quoted Chen as saying. The two leaders have met three times before.
Bolanos expressed appreciation for Taiwan's longstanding aid to his country and assistance in the industrial, agricultural and educational development of Nicaragua, the statement said.
In the afternoon, Chen and Bolanos visited the Hwa Ya Technology Service Park near Taipei.
In the evening, Chen entertained his guests with a national banquet in Taoyuan Country, the hometown of Vice President Annette Lu (
During the Nicaraguan president's stay in Taiwan, the two heads of state are also scheduled to sign a joint communique to promote bilateral exchanges.
Bolanos will also meet with Minister of Foreign Affairs Eugene Chien (簡又新), Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and the well-known religious leader Shi Cheng-Yen (釋證嚴).
Members of the 17-strong Nicaraguan delegation include Foreign Minister Norman Caldera Cardenal, Deputy Agricultural Minister Sergio Marvaez Sampson and Commander of the Armed Forces Javier Carrion McDonough.