President Tsai Ing-wen attended the inauguration of Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benitez and Vice President Hugo Velazquez August 15th at Lopez Palace in Asuncion, the capital of the South American nation.
Tsai, on the first leg of a nine day state visit including fellow ally Belize in Central America, was seated with Jimmy Morales, president of ally Guatemala, and heads of state from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay.
Following the ceremony, Tsai and senior officials in her delegation such as Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu and National Security Council Secretary-General David Tawei Lee, as well as Ambassador to Paraguay Diego L. Chow, took part in the traditional prayer at Asuncion Cathedral.
The day before, Tsai met with Benitez at his home for talks on deepening and strengthening bilateral exchanges.
According to the Office of the President, she told the South American leader her government is committed to assisting allies advance development in agriculture, industry and infrastructure via a raft of forward-looking cooperative assistance programs.
The president also praised Paraguay’s economic potential and said she anticipates its well-developed commercial and political environments to pave the way for further tie-ups with Taiwan across a broad spectrum of areas.
Tsai extended an invitation for Benitez to visit for Double Tenth National Day celebrations in October, which he readily accepted.
In response, Benitez expressed appreciation for official relations dating back 60 years, adding that they are founded on shared values like democracy, freedom and respect for human rights.
The government of Paraguay will continue working with Taiwan to create opportunities in education, medical care, talent cultivation and trade, he said, citing the planned Taiwan-Paraguay Polytechnic University as an outstanding example of successful collaboration in this regard.
In addition, Benitez said Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system serves as an inspiration to his government and he hopes more of the country’s businesses will consider Paraguay as the ideal location to establish presences and access the South American market.
Later in the evening, Tsai attended a special dinner with Morales and top officials from both sides. According to the Office of the President, the heads of state exchanged views on issues pertaining to Taiwan-Guatemala ties, as well as global economic, political and security developments.
The president, making her fifth official trip abroad since assuming office in May 2016, is visiting Paraguay Aug. 14-16 and Belize Aug. 16-18. She returns to Taiwan Aug. 20 after a U.S. stopover in Houston.