Taiwan urged to invest in Central America

Staff writer, with CNA

Sat, Sep 16, 2017 - Page 4

Praising Taiwan as a place its Central American allies aspire to be, the ambassador of Honduras has urged the nation to invest more aggressively in the region to create benefits for both sides.

Speaking at an event to mark the 196th anniversary of the independence of Central America from Spanish rule, Honduran Ambassador Rafael Fernando Sierra Quesada, joined by the ambassadors of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua, yesterday said that their nations have much more to learn from Taiwan.

“We dream to become what this beautiful nation is, while doing so in a short period of time,” he said.

The ambassador also called on Taiwan to be part of the region’s development in building a “win-win situation” for both sides.

Central America could benefit from Taiwan’s knowledge and investment, thanks to the cooperation, while Taiwan could gain from its free-trade deals with these countries to obtain easier access to markets in North and South America, Sierra added.

Central American Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 15, because on that day in 1821, Central American leaders accepted a plan declaring Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua free from Spain.

Costa Rica was a diplomatic ally of Taiwan until June 2007, when it cut ties with Taipei to recognize Beijing.

Taiwan lost another Central American ally — Panama — in June, when it also switched allegiance to Beijing, and Friday’s event was held amid speculation that Beijing could snatch away more of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the region in the near future.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) hopes to prevent that from happening.

At the event, she congratulated the four diplomatic allies on the anniversary of their independence, and said that her visit to those countries in January gave her first-hand experience of the close friendship between Taiwan and Central America.

“One hundred and ninety-six years ago, your courageous forefathers displayed tremendous fortitude in the face of adversity and even death. With a resolute spirit, they fought for freedom, liberating the people of Central America from colonialism,” she said.

Democracy and freedom are hard-won achievements and common values of Taiwan and Central America as Taiwanese have also been subjected to colonial and authoritarian rule, and taken the arduous path toward democracy, she added.

“These similar historical experiences give us an even greater appreciation of our mutual friendship,” she said.

The president said that she looks forward to writing the next chapter in the partnership between Taiwan and Central America and generating even greater mutual pride.