The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday thanked the Paraguayan and US governments for helping arrange a charter flight to evacuate 21 Taiwanese who had been stranded in the nation due to border closings, who are expected to return home today.
Paraguay on March 25 stopped accepting civilian flights, except for humanitarian charters, due to COVID-19 concerns, the Republic of China (ROC) embassy in Asuncion wrote on Facebook.
The embassy thanked the US embassy in Asuncion for sharing information about an Eastern Airlines flight chartered by the US government, allowing 21 Taiwanese and an American spouse to board the flight to Miami on Tuesday.
Photo copied by Lu Yi-shuan, Taipei Times, from the Facebook page of the Republic of China embassy in Paraguay
It sent staff to Silvio Pettirossi International Airport to help with the evacuees with customs clearance and boarding, the ROC embassy said.
The US embassy on May 20 informed the other foreign missions in Paraguay of its attempt to arrange a charter flight from Asuncion to Miami, and said foreign tourists could book seats with the airline, ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said yesterday in Taipei.
In Miami, the Taiwanese would board a flight operated by a Taiwanese airline, and were expected to arrive home late tonight, she said.
As per entry regulations, they would be sent directly to designated quarantine sites for a 14-day stay before being allowed to return home.
The ROC and US embassies maintain positive relations and frequent contact, as demonstrated by the charter flight, Ou said, thanking the US and Paraguayan governments, as well as the airlines, for helping the stranded Taiwanese return home.
Paraguay is one of Taiwan’s 15 diplomatic allies and the only one in South America.
The 63-year-old ties between the two nations are facing increasing pressure from China, although the Paraguayan Senate on April 17 voted 25-16 against a proposal by opposition and pro-China senators to switch ties to Beijing, Americas Quarterly reported last month.
Former ambassador to Paraguay Diego Chou (周麟) returned to Taipei soon after the vote, but the ministry on April 22 said his return was a normal rotation.
Taiwan’s new ambassador to Paraguay, Jose Han (韓志正) on Tuesday presented his letter of credence to Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez, the embassy said.
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