Beijing, Apr 25 (EFE).- Guatemala’s president said Monday in Taipei that he reaffirmed his country’s support for Taiwan, in addition to asking the international community for theirs.
Alejandro Giammattei made these statements during his visit to the island, where he arrived Monday for a four-day official visit.
“I want to reaffirm the unwavering support and friendship of the people and the government of Guatemala toward (…) Taiwan. In 2019, as president-elect, I said we would be partners for many years and here I am confirming it before all of you,” Giammattei said at a speech in parliament, which awarded him an honorary medal for parliamentary diplomacy.
According to Giammattei “Guatemala maintains a very deep relationship with Taiwan, not only in commercial ties or through official contacts, but also because of the trust and friendship of the peoples through cooperation and exchange.”
“Only united can we face these times of political turbulence, economic crises, catastrophic climatic effects and threats to world peace and stability,” he said.
It is the first time a foreign head of state has spoken in the Taiwanese parliament in 10 years, and Giammattei called on the “free international community” to commit itself to “the demand for respect for territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the Republic of Taiwan.”
“I ask you to show solidarity with this nation. Let’s show solidarity with those who are under constant siege from the other side of the Taiwan Strait,” he said.
He said Guatemala would continue its support of Taiwan as an independent nation before the United Nations.
“While other nations choose interest over friendship, Guatemala stands firm,” he said to applause from Taiwanese lawmakers.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Giammattei for the support and “extraordinary contribution” to strengthen relations between the two.
“On behalf of the Taiwanese people, we award this order to recognize the extraordinary contribution to strengthening our ties, as well as to express our deepest gratitude,” Tsai said.
“In recent years, Taiwan and Guatemala have been able to prosper together, and steps to deepen our cooperation have not stopped. This friendship has moved the Taiwanese people,” she said.
Guatemala – which celebrated 62 years of relations with the island in November – and Belize are the only two remaining diplomatic partners of Taiwan in Central America after Honduras broke its ties with Taipei on Mar. 26 to establish them with China.
That also made Honduras the ninth country – the fifth in Latin America – that since 2016 has cut ties with the island to ally with China, joining Panama, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua, among others.
Following Tsai’s stay in Guatemala in early April, the Chinese government said it hoped the country would “realize the general trend” and “make the right decision,” according to Mao Ning, one of the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokespersons.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, an island that it considers a rebel territory since the Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there after losing the civil war against the communist army in 1949. EFE