Taiwanese president visits Central America to boost diplomatic ties


President Tsai Ing-wen arrived Jan 12. in El Salvador on the final leg of her nine-day tour of four Republic of China (Taiwan) Central American diplomatic allies, including Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala in that order.

Tsai, who was met by El Salvador Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez at Monsenor Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in the capital San Salvador, received a red-carpet welcome and a military honor guard salute. During her arrival address, the president described El Salvador as an “important friend” of Taiwan and lauded the strength of bilateral ties officially established in 1941, as well as the frequency of respective visits by the peoples of both nations.

According to Tsai, her visit is made in the spirit of mutual assistance, and she anticipates Taiwan and El Salvador jointly developing more plans and projects en route to expanding cultural, economic and people-to-people exchanges. Some of Taiwan’s leading business representatives are on this trip and it is hoped they can open up new commercial and industry cooperation opportunities for the benefit of the two countries, she said.

Such economic, investment and trade matters are expected to be high on the agenda of talks between Tsai and El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren Jan. 13 at the Presidential House. In addition, the president will call on the General Secretariat of the San Salvador-headquartered Central American Integration System to learn more about Taiwan’s role in regional integration.

Prior to arriving in El Salvador, Tsai addressed the Guatemalan national congress Jan. 12, praising robust relations between the two nations dating back more than 80 years.

According to the president, Taiwan and Guatemala share an unwavering relationship and common values like democracy. One of the goals of the trip is to help more people in Taiwan discover the beauty of Guatemala.

Since Taiwan and Guatemala concluded a free trade agreement 10 years ago, Tsai said, two-way trade has grown close to US$250 million last year, with investments by local firms in Guatemala topping US$100 million. But bilateral ties extend far beyond trade and official relations, they are also characterized by friendship and mutual trust forged through substantive exchanges and cooperation projects, she added.

According to the president, these interactions are in line with the government’s steadfast diplomacy approach, which aims to promote mutual benefits and reciprocity.

Tsai said Taiwan looks forward to developing and implementing more mutually beneficial projects in Guatemala spanning such sectors as agricultural produce processing, automation, digital information technology, green energy, infrastructure, logistics and textiles.


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