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Taiwan, Paraguay reaffirm strong bilateral ties

ROC Central News Agency

2017/07/13 23:56:25

Taipei, July 13 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and her Paraguayan counterpart Horacio Cartes reaffirmed the strong ties between the two diplomatic allies on Thursday in Taipei, with the visiting president from the South American country pledging that the friendship will continue.

During the state dinner she hosted for Cartes, Tsai said that Paraguay is a true friend of Taiwan and has stood next to Taiwan as it suffered difficulties on many international occasions.

Citing as an example, she said Paraguay spoke up for Taiwan during the World Health Assembly meeting in May, which Taiwan was blocked from attending due to China's obstruction. It has been an honor for Taiwanese people to have such a good friend as Paraguay, Tsai said.

Tsai also noted that she accompanied the Paraguayan president to Kaohsiung earlier in the day to see the development of the southern Taiwanese city's harbor, and to look for opportunities for bilateral cooperation.

Taiwan and Paraguay will continue their cooperation based on the solid foundation, Tsai said.

Echoing Tsai's remarks, Cartes said that bilateral ties are mutually beneficial and reciprocal.

He expressed gratitude for Taiwan's assistance in helping develop his country's aquaculture industry and for offering scholarships for Paraguayan students to study in Taiwan.

He said Paraguay will always open its doors for Taiwan.

The two countries have maintained close ties over the past 60 years and he said he believed that the firm friendship will continue.

Cartes arrived in Taiwan Tuesday to attend a series of events marking the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, including a painting exhibition, and to promote bilateral trade and economic exchanges, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

He was scheduled to conclude the three-day visit later Thursday.

During talks between the two presidents on Wednesday, Tsai announced that Taiwan will offer visa-free treatment for Paraguayan citizens, while Cartes said that his country will continue to help Taiwan take part in international organizations and activities.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of an economic cooperation agreement and the exemption of double verification of official papers.

Taiwan and Paraguay established official ties on July 12, 1957. Paraguay is Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in South America.

Cartes' visit came after Panama cut formal ties with Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with China on June 13, leaving Taipei with only 20 diplomatic allies.

(By Sophia Yeh and Elaine Hou)

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