Taiwan’s president thanks Guatemala for continued support

Guatemala City, Mar 31 (EFE).- Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday thanked the Guatemalan government headed by her counterpart Alejandro Giammattei for its support during a visit to one of the island’s last remaining allies in the Americas.

“Last year, when we had to face aerial maneuvers by China, President Giammattei came out to defend Taiwan’s sovereignty internationally,” Tsai said in an official statement released by Guatemala’s National Palace after a bilateral meeting on the first day of her three-day visit to Guatemala.

In her speech, Tsai called Guatemala “a solid ally” of Taiwan and thanked it for lending a “helping hand” in moments of difficulty.

Meanwhile, Giammattei said that the friendship with Taiwan was “unshakeable” and stressed that for Guatemala the island was the “one and true China.”

Guatemala and Taiwan marked 62 years of bilateral ties in November, even as Taipei is now left with just two official allies in Central America including Belize.

The Taiwanese president’s visit comes days after Honduras – Guatemala’s neighbor – broke off ties with Taipei despite a relation dating back 80 years as part of a rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China.

Tsai and Giammattei did not take questions from reporters after reading out the official statement.

The Taiwanese president highlighted that her country had invested $22 million to build the recently-inaugurated National Hospital of Chimaltenango in western Guatemala within just 18 months, as a sign of mutual solidarity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She added that her visit was aimed at diversifying and deepening technical cooperation in health, energy and other sectors.

Giammattei said that Guatemala would continue to promote the participation and sovereignty of Taiwan on international platforms such as the United Nations.

On Saturday, the two leaders are set to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal in the far north of Guatemala, one of the most important archaeological sites of the region.

The next day, Tsai is expected to visit the Taiwan-backed hospital before concluding her visit.

The Taiwanese president had made a stop in New York before kicking off her Central America tour, triggering protests by Beijing against United States authorities.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which it views as a rogue province since Kuomintang nationalists withdrew there in 1949 after losing the civil war against the communists. EFE


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