The newly elected head of state in Paraguay will join festivities on Wednesday celebrating the 66th anniversary of Paraguay-Taiwan relations.
Paraguay’s incoming president Santiago Pena said that his administration will maintain close relations with Taiwan under his five-year term, making his country the island’s only diplomatic ally in South America and one of the few worldwide.
Pena, who will assume office next month, made his statement after arriving in Taipei on Tuesday, where he is scheduled to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President William Lai before joining an event on Wednesday celebrating the 66th anniversary of Taiwan-Paraguay ties.
“I come to… reaffirm my commitment, our commitment as Paraguayans to be on the side of the people of Taiwan for the next five years,” he said in an address from Taiwan’s Presidential Office, noting that the timing of his trip was “not a coincidence.”
Pena praised Tsai for “knowing that principles and values are not negotiable”, and stressed that he will work closely with Taipei on future investments to ensure “a mutual economic benefit” for both sides.
During his campaign in May, the president-elect pledged to continue recognizing Taiwan, making his elections win a source of relief to the US-backed Taiwanese government which currently has high tensions with China.
Tsai is expected to be succeeded by her vice president William in next January’s elections, when she will step down from office after holding her position since 2016.
In recent years, Panama, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras have all dropped their relations with Taiwan to honor the internationally-recognized Beijing’s “one China” policy, which China considers a main condition to establish and develop friendly relations with other countries.
While Western countries, led by the United States, have increased China provocations in recent months, especially in the South China Sea, Beijing stressed on numerous occasions that reunification between the mainland and Taiwan is an “unstoppable historical trend” and that it will resolutely fight “Taiwan independence.”