Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega reaffirmed his country's support for Taiwan's participation in United Nations-affiliated organizations and other international organizations, during a meeting with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (???) in the capital of Nicaragua on Monday.
He expressed gratitude to Tsai and the people of Taiwan, saying Nicaragua has long benefited from the mutual assistance and bilateral cooperation and that relations between the two countries have been growing in areas such as trade.
Ortega said he was also grateful to Taiwan for providing assistance that met Nicaragua's needs.
At a recent summit in Nicaragua of leaders in the Central American Integration System (SICA), Ortega said, his country stressed its commitment to strengthening relations with Taiwan.
In his meeting with Tsai, he pledged that Nicaragua will continue to support Taiwan's participation in U.N.-affiliated organizations and other international organizations related to humanitarian assistance, public health, education, culture, civil aviation safety, environmental protection and climate change.
"We will continue to fight for greater rights for Taiwan," he said.
In response, Tsai said the support of the international community has helped Taiwan reach its current level of economic development and that Taiwan is willing to give back by helping other countries develop and improve the lives of their people.
She said the four Central American countries that she is currently visiting are all Taiwan's long-term friends and Taiwan will do its best to help bring about rapid economic development in Central America.
Tsai said she was pleased to be invited to Ortega's inauguration, at which she will convey in person the congratulations of the people of Taiwan.
She also expressed the hope that her visit would help deepen the friendship between the two countries.
During the meeting, which was also attended by Nicaragua's Vice President Rosario Murillo, Tsai thanked Nicaragua and Taiwan's other Central American allies for their support of Taiwan's efforts to participate in the international community.
China, which sees Taiwan as part of its territory, often tries to squeeze Taiwan's international space.
In a post on her personal Facebook page after the meeting, Tsai said she had invited Ortega to visit Taiwan and he had promised to consider doing so.
In response to Ortega's proposal of increased exchanges under a free trade agreement with Taiwan, Tsai said Taiwan is transforming its economic structure and would welcome more bilateral exchanges and greater cooperation.
Tsai is scheduled Tuesday to attend the inauguration of Ortega, who was reelected in November to a third consecutive term as president.
Nicaragua is the second leg of Tsai's Central American tour, which also includes Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Tsai's meeting with Ortega shortly after her arrival in Managua was broadcast live on Nicaragua television and the Taiwanese reporters traveling with her were not invited to cover the meeting.
Tsai's official itinerary, which was released to the Taiwan media before she departed Taiwan on Jan. 7, showed meetings with her counterparts in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador but not Nicaragua, an omission that Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (???) said was deliberate to allow flexibility in terms of time.
Tsai's visit to Nicaragua will end Wednesday after which she will fly to Guatemala and El Salvador before returning to Taiwan on Jan. 15, with a stopover in San Francisco en route.
Tsai's nine-day state visit to Central America is aimed at consolidating ties with Taiwan's diplomatic allies there after the small West African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe broke relations with Taiwan on Dec. 20, 2016.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel