Tue, Oct 09, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Paraguay head extols ‘homecoming’

Staff writer, with CNA

Paraguayan students perform a traditional vase folk dance yesterday in Taipei at a ceremony in which the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology conferred an honorary doctorate on Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez.

Photo: CNA

Visiting Taiwan for the first time as president is like “homecoming,” due to his family’s close ties with the nation, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez said yesterday.

At a ceremony at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Abdo said this is not his first time to visit, but his first as president.

He praised Taiwan’s insistence on democracy, peace and human rights.

These shared values have bonded Taiwan and Paraguay for decades since the two countries established ties 61 years ago, he said.

Paraguay would continue to support Taiwan on the international stage, especially on its rights to participate in UN events and other international organizations, he said.

The Paraguayan government hopes to elevate bilateral relations to “the next level,” developing a mutually beneficial relationship that would improve the lives of Taiwanese and Paraguayans, he added.

Abdo Benitez said that Paraguay’s economy has grown at a rate of at least 4.5 percent each year for the past 20 years, while it has an excellent economic and investment environment.

He called on Taiwan to use Paraguay as a base of operations to access the Latin American market.

“We hope that Taiwan can understand that at the heart of South America, Paraguay will also be Taiwan’s brother and closest ally. Our hearts beat together,” he said.

Tsai welcomed the leader of Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America, with a 21-gun salute marking the occasion.

Tsai and Abdo Benitez signed a statement to deepen ties between the two countries.

The statement says that the two sides reaffirm the values and principles they have embraced in their democratic systems, while they are committed to deepening cordial relations, the Presidential Office said in a news release.

The statement signifies a “new era” of relations, focusing on further cooperation to facilitate bilateral investment, trade and infrastructure until 2023, the Presidential Office said.

In other news, St Kitts and Nevis Governor-General Tapley Seaton arrived in Taiwan yesterday to attend Double Ten National Day celebrations tomorrow.

During Seaton’s five-day visit, he is to attend banquets hosted by Tsai and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) respectively, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

Seaton is also to engage in cultural activities, including tours of the National Palace Museum, Taipei 101 and the National Taichung Theater, among other places, the ministry said.

Taiwan and the Caribbean nation established diplomatic relations in October 1983, less than a month after it gained independence from Britain, the ministry said.

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