Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) yesterday confirmed that Taiwan has gifted Paraguay a retired military helicopter and other equipment, and denied rumors that Taiwan’s relations with Paraguay are being undermined by Beijing.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Sz-huai (吳思懷) had asked Joseph Wu whether the Ministry of National Defense had made the gifts to the government in Asuncion.
The gifts had been made by the defense ministry in coordination with the National Security Council, Joseph Wu said, adding that an announcement had been held back because Taiwan was still in talks with Paraguay over the right time and format of the announcement.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
Taiwan in 2019 gifted Paraguay two Bell UH-1H helicopters and 30 military trucks to aid its efforts against terrorism and drug trafficking.
In December of the same year, Taiwan also donated Paraguay a plane for administrative and disaster relief purposes.
Additionally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday condemned reports that Beijing was offering Asuncion COVID-19 vaccines in return for it to switch recognition to Beijing.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) and KMT Legislator Charles Chen (陳以信) said that the foreign ministry should be on the alert, as Beijing has not abandoned its strategy of depriving Taiwan of its diplomatic allies.
Joseph Wu said that governments around the world are aware of Beijing’s attempt through its COVID-19 vaccines to increase its international influence.
“There is an evident discrepancy between what China promises and what it can deliver,” Joseph Wu said.
Citing the Tuesday incident, Joseph Wu said that a Chinese agency claimed that it could provide 14 million doses of Chinese-made vaccines via Argentina, but China’s promise to deliver 3 million doses to Argentina has yet to be realized.
Taiwan’s friends in Paraguay are aware that Beijing’s promises cannot be trusted, he said.
Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines have not been approved by the WHO, and countries shouldthink carefully before inoculating their citizens with the vaccines, Joseph Wu said.
Regarding concerns over whether Paraguay would switch recognition to Beijing, Joseph Wu said that Asuncion was aware that Beijing was stirring unrest in the region and Paraguay is “definitively not pro-Beijing.”
Taiwan-Paraguay relations remain solid, Joseph Wu said.
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