Guatemalan president honored with degree

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Jun 18, 2013 - Page 3

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina yesterday received an honorary doctoral degree from the National Defense University in recognition of his contribution to his country’s development and its ties with Taiwan.

“I’m grateful” for receiving the honor, Perez Molina said during the ceremony held at the university’s Fu Hsing Kang College in Taipei.

The hononary degree is a symbol of the longstanding and deep relations between the two countries, he said after receiving the degree certificate from the university’s president, General Chiu Kuo-cheng (邱國正).

Chiu praised Perez Molina for improving Guatemala’s economic and political environment, as well as promoting ties with Taiwan. He also expressed hope that the two countries’ “friendly bilateral ties will be sustainable and solid.”

Hosted by Minister of National Defense Kao Hua-chu (高華柱), the ceremony was attended by several officials from Taiwan and Guatemala.

Perez Molina, a former army general, has contributed significantly to Guatemala’s public security, economic development, infrastructure and social development, Kao said, adding that he was the first recipient of an honorary doctorate in law from the university.

Perez Molina, who took office in January last year, has played an important role in Guatemala’s political development and national security, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Ko (柯森耀) said.

Citing an example, Ko said Perez Molina represented the Guatemalan government during the signing of the peace accord in 1996 aimed at ending the civil war in the country.

Ko also expressed hope that the two countries would continue to cooperate closely in areas such as agriculture, national defense, education, transportation and culture.

Perez Molina took the opportunity to express his condolences to the family of a Guatemalan student who died recently in a car accident in southern Taiwan.

This is Perez Molina’s first state visit to Taiwan since he assumed office last year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

He is leading a delegation of high-ranking Guatemalan government officials from the ministries of defense, foreign affairs, energy and mines and transportation, on a three-day visit that concludes today, the ministry said.

Perez Molina will meet President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and they will present medals to each other in recognition of their respective country’s efforts toward promoting bilateral ties, it added.