Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez reaffirmed his support for Taiwan on Wednesday during talks with visiting Vice President Annette Lu (
Fernandez admitted that his country has established a trade office in Beijing and disclosed that Beijing has requested that his country give up its 63-year-old ties with Taiwan as a precondition for forging diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, Lu said.
Fernandez has informed Beijing of his decision to continue relations with Taiwan because Taiwan and the Dominican Republic share common founding values, she said.
Fernandez told Lu that his country has to maintain trade and business relations with China to cope with the trend of economic globalization.
He expects Taiwan to lend a hand to his country's economic development by helping to build a science park and encouraging more Taiwanese textile businesses to set up operations in the Caribbean nation, Lu said.
Also participating in the talks, Taiwan's Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Hsieh Fa-dah (謝發達) suggested that the Dominican Republic form a strategic alliance with other Central American countries to expand the scale of the country's textile industry.
Pointing out that the Dominican Republic has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with the US and is expected to seal an agreement with Taiwan by the end of this year, Lu said the situation is very favorable to Taiwanese businesses with operations in the Dominican Republic because they will be able to readily market their products to the US.
Dominican Vice President Alburquerque de Castro decorated Lu with the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella. In return, Lu conferred the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon on de Castro on behalf of President Chen Shui-bian (
De Castro said the Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella, which was established to mark the independence of the Dominican Republic, represents the highest honor in his country.
He said Lu was decorated with the order in recognition of her contributions to promoting freedom, democracy, peace and human rights and of Taiwan's economic and political achievements.
De Castro will visit Taiwan next month to take part in the annual meeting of the Democratic Pacific Union slated for Aug. 13 to Aug. 14 in Taipei, Lu said.
During her visit, Lu donated US$300,000 on behalf of the government to a public children's hospital in the capital, Santo Domingo.
The funds, intended for the purchase of medical instruments and equipment for the hospital, represent the initial payment of a sum of US$1 million that Taiwan has offered to contribute to the hospital's renewal project.
Meanwhile, in Taipei, the Presidential Office released a statement saying that Nicaraguan President Jose Daniel Ortega Saavedra has reiterated his firm support of diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Ortega made the remarks during a telephone conversation with Chen on Wednesday, the press release said.
Noting that Taiwanese affection for Nicaragua makes him feel that Taiwan is Nicaragua's best friend, Ortega said that he will do his utmost to support Taiwan, the press release said.
Chen lauded Ortega's remarks by saying that he was deeply moved by Nicaragua's expression of support for Taiwan after Costa Rica recently severed ties with Taipei and switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing, the press release said.