President Tsai meets president-elect of Paraguay in Asuncion

Asuncion, President Tsai Ing-wen (???) flew into Paraguay Tuesday, where she met President-elect Mario Abdo Benitez, with the two agreeing to further expand bilateral cooperation.

Tsai and Abdo Benitez agreed to focus on investment, infrastructure, and trade as the three focal points of future relations, Hugo Saguier, a foreign affairs advisor to Abdo Benitez, said following the one-hour meeting.

Saguier, who was present at the meeting, said details of the ventures between the two countries will be made public when Abdo Benitez visits Taiwan in October.

"After the meeting, we reconfirmed relations between the two countries," Saguier said. "We will continue to maintain relations with Taiwan as the two countries share the same diplomatic values, which is irreplaceable to Paraguay."

Under the framework, Taiwan's enterprises will be encouraged to invest in infrastructure projects in Paraguay in the areas of education, medical care and technology, to boost people's livelihoods and economic development, said Diego Chou (??), Taiwan's ambassador to Paraguay.

According to Taiwan's National Security Council (NSC) Deputy Secretary- General Tsai Ming-yen (???), who was also present at the Tsai-Abdo meeting, Taiwan will establish three government funded investment firms to offer Paraguay assistance in agriculture, technology and development projects through the provision of low-interest loans.

Abdo Benitez also promised to continue advancing ties between the two countries after assuming office in the hope that Paraguay can serve as a hub for Taiwan's manufacturing firms looking to move into the South American market, Tsai Ming-yen said.

Earlier Tuesday, President Tsai met outgoing Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and gave a keynote speech at the opening of a course for students likely to progress to a technology university jointly founded by the two countries that has yet to officially open. Tsai encouraged the Paraguayan students to apply for vocational training scholarship programs in Taiwan.

"Taiwan is Paraguay's best friend and we are glad to share our experience with you and contribute to a better future for Paraguay," she said.

Taiwan and Paraguay agreed in December 2017 to jointly found the university to train engineers.

Paraguay funded the school's construction while Taiwan has provided teachers, curriculum plans and lab equipment.

President Tsai invited Abdo Benitez to visit Taiwan in October and attend the Republic of China's Oct. 10 National Day celebrations, Tsai Ming-yen said, adding that the two sides will further discuss cooperative ventures in Taipei.

Later Tuesday, Tsai met Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales at a banquet and exchanged views on possible cooperative projects between the two countries.

On Wednesday, Tsai will attend the inauguration of Abdo Benitez before heading to Belize for a three-day visit, during which she will be decorated by Governor-General Colville Young and meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow.

Tsai is scheduled to return to Taiwan Aug. 20 after concluding the night-day visit, her fifth overseas trip since becoming president in May 2016.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel