The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday thanked Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei for his “unwavering support” of the two nations’ friendship, after he denied plans to seek Chinese vaccines or establish ties with Beijing.
In an interview with Reuters published yesterday, Giammattei said that unlike its neighbors Honduras and El Salvador, Guatemala has no interest in COVID-19 vaccine procurement from China, as its jabs are less effective than the alternatives.
Guatemala would also not seek diplomatic ties with Beijing out of loyalty to long-time ally Taiwan, he added.
Photo: Screengrab from a film by the US Department of State.
As of last month, El Salvador had received about 2.15 million vaccine doses from China, Beijing’s embassy in the Central American nation said.
Honduras, which maintains diplomatic ties with Taiwan, last month asked its neighbor to sell some of these vaccines amid difficulty in obtaining doses from the US and other sources.
On May 11, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez also floated the idea of opening a commercial office in China if that helped the nation secure vaccines.
Giammattei told the news agency that Guatemala had already approached Washington for help in obtaining vaccines.
“It looks like there will be help,” he said, implying that the doses the country would receive from the US would be of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
The relationship between Taiwan and Guatemala is “deep and friendly,” the ministry said in a news release, calling the country an important ally in the region.
The two nations would continue to deepen exchanges on the basis of existing cooperation, as well as jointly combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and promote sustainable and prosperous development, it added.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) on May 12 talked with his counterpart, Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Pedro Brolo, via teleconference to discuss Central America’s issues and COVID-19 situation.
Wu at the time said that Taiwan would offer domestically developed vaccines to help allies combat the pandemic after the jabs enter mass production.
Taiwan has 15 allies globally, including nine in Central and South America.
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