TAIPEI – Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes was received Wednesday in Taiwan by his counterpart Ma Ying-jeou with the highest honors, including a 21-gun salute next to a memorial honoring Taiwan’s founder, Chiang Kai-shek.
During the official reception ceremony, the Taiwanese president said that on behalf of the people and government of his country he was extending a large, sincere and warm welcome to Cartes and his entourage.
Ma said that Paraguay “is not only rich in natural resources, but also has a mature democracy,” and that with “the innovative and dynamic leadership” of Cartes it is moving towards a promising future.
Taiwan and Paraguay have signed several bilateral agreements for cooperation in agriculture, health, culture and academic exchange programs, Ma said, while promising to create a “mutually beneficial” relationship.
On his part, the Paraguayan president said that he was moved by the warm welcome and that he came as a representative of his people to attend Taiwan’s National Day celebrations on Friday and convey their most sincere wishes on the occasion.
After the ceremony, Cartes visited the Parliament and met with its speaker, Wang Jin-pyng.
Later Wednesday, he is expected to sign a Joint Declaration with Ma, and receive the Order of Brilliant Jade, the highest civilian award given to foreign heads of state.
On Thursday, Cartes will participate in a seminar on trade and investment opportunity in Paraguay and on Friday he is to attend the national day celebrations before leaving Taiwan.
Paraguay is Taiwan’s only ally in South America and one of the 12 Latin American nations with diplomatic ties with Taiwan but not with China.
Over half of the 22 countries that Taiwan has diplomatic ties with are located in Latin America and the Caribbean region.