The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday denied a media report linking the decision by the presidents of Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile and Suriname to skip a ceremony celebrating Paraguay’s independence today to the presence of Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長).
“According to our understanding [on the reasons for their absence], the report was not correct,” MOFA spokesman James Chang (章計平) said.
The Chinese-language China Times reported yesterday that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, and Surinamese President Desi Bouterse all called off their trips to Paraguay at the last minute.
They ostensibly canceled for different reasons, but the decision was made to obey the “one China” principle, under which they shall refrain from associating with officials from the Taiwanese government, the China Times report said.
ABC Color, a Paraguayan newspaper, was quoted by the Central News Agency as reporting that Rousseff was advised to avoid plane travel because she has not yet recovered from a bout of pneumonia that she contracted two weeks ago.
Local media in Paraguay reported that Chilean President Sebastian Pinera decided not to attend the ceremony to avoid meeting with his Peruvian counterpart at a time when the two countries are now engaged in a lawsuit over territorial water rights.
A special envoy from the Republic of China (ROC) to Paraguay’s bicentennial celebrations, Siew will meet with Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo and preside over an issuing ceremony for an ROC-Paraguay commemorative postage stamp. Siew will also head to Panama to promote diplomatic relations.