Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) yesterday denied reports suggesting that his visit to three of the country's diplomatic allies in Central America was aimed at preventing a possible domino effect resulting from Chad's recent switching of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
Huang told reporters that his trip to Panama, Costa Rica and Honduras was arranged long before Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Chad on Aug. 6 and that the trip has nothing to do with the Chad incident.
Huang said the main purpose of the visit was to discuss bilateral cooperation projects.
Speaking of the two cancellations of visits to Taiwan by Honduras President Manuel Zelaya, Huang said Zelaya's decision should not be "interpreted" as a move expressing his displeasure with Taiwan, as Zelaya is beset with domestic problems.
Huang said his ministry will do its utmost to maintain the country's relations with its diplomatic allies while China is using every possible means to suppress Taiwan.
He said the other purpose of his Central American trip was to attend a meeting with Taiwanese diplomats in the Central and Southern American and Caribbean regions.
Noting that Central America is home to the largest number of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, Huang said he hopes the diplomats will use the opportunity to exchange views on the problems faced by the country and partake in some brainstorming.
On his present visit to Panama, Huang said that he has met Panamanian President Martin Torrijos and held talks with First Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Relations Samuel Lewis Navarro and seven other members of the Panamanian Cabinet to discuss plans for bilateral cooperation.