Wed, Jun 10, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Guatemalan ambassador leaving on Sunday after completing three years

Staff writer, with CNA

Guatemalan Ambassador Arturo Duarte is scheduled to leave Taiwan this weekend after concluding a three-year term in the country, but insisted that his departure did not signal a change in relations between the longtime allies.

Due to an “unexpected vacancy” in Mexico, Duarte said he received a request from the Guatemalan foreign minister to fill a similar post there.

During an interview with local media last week, Duarte confirmed that he is to leave Taiwan on Sunday, but said it was simply a “normal” change as part of a rotation of diplomatic personnel.

The term for a Guatemalan diplomat serving in a foreign country is usually three to five years, he said.

Downplaying concerns that his departure might suggest a change in bilateral ties, Duarte said his government has chosen a new ambassador who is expected to arrive in Taiwan in the near future to take up the post.

Asked about the issue, Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lin (林永樂) said that bilateral ties between Taiwan and Guatemala are solid.

Duarte said that one of the candidates in Guatemala’s presidential election in September last year has stated that if elected, his government would be “more interested in having a relationship with” Beijing.

However, even if a candidate says that during his campaign, it does not mean that he will do that if elected, Duarte said.

Some presidential candidates have highlighted the issue of relations between Taiwan and Guatemala in their campaigns, he said, but once a new president is elected, his administration will evaluate which country his government will be more interested in working with.

Asked to describe the current state of bilateral relations between Taiwan and Guatemala, he said the direction has not changed.

The two countries have seen growing ties in the areas of trade, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, he said.

One of Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic ties, Guatemala established official ties with the Republic of China in 1933.

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