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Guatemala envoy affirms ties with Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2018/08/27 19:12:29

Taipei, Aug. 27 (CNA) Taiwan's Central American ally Guatemala reaffirmed Monday its government's commitment to maintaining diplomatic relations with Republic of China (Taiwan), a week after neighboring El Salvador announced that it was switching allegiance from Taipei to Beijing.

In response to a CNA inquiry on bilateral ties, the Embassy of Guatemala in the Republic of China (Taiwan) affirmed that its country will continue to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The embassy also confirmed that Guatemala's Ambassador to Taiwan Olga Maria Aguja Zuniga relayed the message to Taiwan's Vice Foreign Minister Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) during a meeting at the ministry's headquarters in Taipei Monday.

An anonymous source said they also engaged in detailed discussions on bilateral cooperation projects, including humanitarian assistance projects and helping the ally to build a highway project.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs first announced the severing of ties with El Salvador Aug. 21, after which El Salvador declared it was cutting ties with Taiwan to establish formal relations with the People's Republic of China.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) attributed the loyalty switch to China's campaign of luring away Taiwan's allies with promises of massive financial assistance and investment.

Since then, many local scholars and former diplomats, including ex-Foreign Minister Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) have warned that more Central America allies, most particularly Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, could be next in line.

Liu also met with Honduran Ambassador to Taiwan Rafael Fernando Sierra Quesada Monday, their second meeting since the El Salvador incident, the source said.

Yui Tah-ray (俞大㵢), head of MOFA's Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, also recently met with Nicaragua President Daniel Ortega and the Nicaraguan leader reiterated his government's pledge to Taiwan as well, the source said.

All of these are evidence that Taiwan's ties with these Central American allies remain stable, according to the source.

Taiwan has lost five diplomatic allies since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016. Among them, three are located in Central America and the Caribbean -- Panama, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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