The nation’s new ambassador to Panama, Diego Chou (周麟), is expected to deliver his credentials to Panamian President Ricardo Martinelli in the coming days, a step toward completing the accreditation process that “is taking a bit longer than expected,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said yesterday.
Jaime Wu (吳進木), -director-general of the ministry’s Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said Chou was expected to join a number of ambassadors scheduled to deliver their credentials at a meeting with Martinelli, possibly in the middle of this month.
Chou took up the position in January, but Martinelli has yet to receive his credentials, reportedly because of Martinelli’s displeasure with Taiwan over an incident in which Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) met Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela, leader of the opposition Panamenista Party, in private when they were in Guatemala for a presidential inauguration in January.
Martinelli dismissed Varela as minister of foreign affairs in September last year following a split of the alliance between his Democratic Change party and the Panamenista Party. Roberto Henriquez succeeded Varela as foreign minister.
The ministry dismissed the reported problems in bilateral relations caused by the meeting between Yang and Varela, saying Taipei had explained the matter to Panama and that ongoing negotiations on Chou presenting his credentials to Martinelli were going well, despite taking “a bit longer than expected.”
In related news, Wu reaffirmed that the relationship between Taiwan and St Lucia remained stable amid repeated calls by St Lucia for Taiwan to replace Ambassador Tom Chou (周台竹) over alleged interference in its politics in favor of the previous United Workers Party administration made by St Lucian Prime Minister Kenny Anthony. Anthony’s St Lucia Labor Party won the election in November last year.
St Lucian Deputy Prime Minister Philip Pierre has been delegated by Anthony to attend President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inauguration on May 20, Wu said, adding that his “high-ranking status explained everything.”