President Chen Shui-bian (
In a ceremony at the Presidential Office, Chen conferred the Order of Propitious Cloud with Grand Cordon on Castiglioni in recognition of his efforts that have helped accelerate friendly and reciprocal exchanges between the two countries.
On hand for the ceremony were Vice President Annette Lu (
During the ceremony, Chen offered his congratulations again to President Oscar Nicanor Duarte and Castiglioni for winning last year's presidential election.
Chen also asked Castiglioni to relay his appreciation to Duarte for boldly speaking out in support of the Republic of China (ROC) in the UN Assembly.
For his part, Catiglioni said that since Duarte took office, he has mapped out useful and resourceful policies on domestic affairs as well as foreign relations, including continued support for Taiwan in its bid to join the UN and other international organizations.
On behalf of his government and people, Castiglioni expressed his support for Taiwan's holding of a referendum next month on the issue of Beijing's deployment of missiles aimed at Taiwan.
"Referendums -- which are a basic right of the people and in line with democratic values -- should by no means be restricted because of external suppression or military intimidation," Castiglioni said.
Castiglioni also expressed his gratitude to Taiwan's government for its assistance to Paraguay in many areas, as well as his admiration for Taiwan for its accelerated democratization and economic prosperity.
Castiglioni arrived in Taipei on Monday for a six-day official visit, accompanied by a 10-member entourage. Castiglioni and his party will meet with officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Government Information Office and the Central Election Commission. He will also tour a high-technology industrial park in the north and the Taroko Gorge National Park.
Taiwan has donated funds to help Paraguay build new barracks for its national cavalry police corps and to upgrade its crime-fighting equipment and facilities.
Taiwan has also earmarked funds to help Paraguay purchase police vehicles and bulletproof vests and to establish a police patrol network.
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