The Presidential Office yesterday dismissed speculation that the country’s diplomatic ties with Honduras were shaky as President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) prepares to visit the country one day later than scheduled.
Saying that arrangements for Ma’s visit were still being made, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) added that Ma would likely stay in Panama for one more day because Honduran President Jose Manuel Zelaya may still be out of the country the day Ma had originally planned to arrive, despite Zelaya’s pledge that he would have returned by then.
“To avoid any misunderstandings, we decided to stay in Panama for one more day,” Wang said, dismissing speculation that the decision stemmed from unfriendly moves by Tegucigalpa toward Taiwan.
Wang said Taiwan’s relationship with its ally was sound and that both sides had fully cooperated during negotiations.
It has been widely reported that Tegucigalpa is unhappy with Ma’s foreign aid policy. Some local media have speculated that Ma had planned to visit Honduras during his last state visit to Central America earlier this month, but decided to postpone it.
When Ma met Zelaya earlier this month in El Salvador, Ma said he would stop providing more funding to Honduras for the construction of a hydraulic power plant and instead offer technical support while letting the Honduran government raise the remainder of the money on its own.
Ma will make state visits to three Central American countries later this month. The main purpose of the trip is to attend the inauguration of Panamanian president-elect Ricardo Martinelli on Wednesday.
The 169-person delegation will depart on Monday and return on July 8, with transfer stops in San Francisco on the way there and in Honolulu on the way back. The trip will also take Ma to Nicaragua and Honduras.