Wed, Nov 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

President-elect vows to maintain Guatemala's ties

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Guatemalan president-elect Alvaro Colom has assured Taiwan he would not change his country's diplomatic ties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) said yesterday.

Colom won the election with 52.78 percent of votes on Sunday, while his rival, retired general Otto Perez Molina, received 47.22 percent.

Yeh said Colom had told Taiwanese Ambassador to Guatemala Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) during the presidential campaign that he would maintain his country's friendship with Taiwan and would not accept an invitation to visit China if he was elected.

Yeh made the remarks during a press conference in response to an inquiry about the outlook for the nation's relationship with Guatemala. She said Colom, who visited Taiwan in 1994, has been very friendly to Taipei.

Colom told Ou he had been loyal to Taiwan because it was the only country that supported Guatemala's National Foundation for Peace, of which Colom is a leader, during the civil war in 1992, Yeh said.

"Colom said that of course he realizes that China is a huge market, but he also said that Guatemala must take its regional economic interests and long-standing friendship with Taiwan into consideration," Yeh said.

The Republic of China established diplomatic relations with Guatemala in 1935.

Yeh said the ministry was working out the details for sending a delegation to Colom's inauguration on Jan. 14.

Meanwhile, former Republic of Sao Tome and Principe president Miguel Trovoada, who established diplomatic relations with Taiwan during his presidency, is scheduled to arrive in Taipei on Sunday for a six-day visit.

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