TAIPEI – Paraguay, Taiwan’s only remaining diplomatic ally in South America, signed a strategic alliance with the island nation during the official visit of its president, which concluded on Thursday.
At a press conference, Mario Abdo Benitez expressed Paraguay’s willingness to engage with the world and its support of integration and globalization but “without letting down its friends.”
China has been pressuring its allies to break ties with Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway territory with no sovereignty of its own.
For the Paraguayan leader, the alliance with Taiwan is based on mutual benefit given the economic complementarity and opportunities that Paraguay offers to Taiwanese capital as a platform to other markets, not only the Southern Common Market (Mercosur).
Abdo Benitez said that despite the geographical distance between the two countries, they both promoted independence and sovereignty.
“(The visit) sought to strengthen our friendship through strategic alliances so that both peoples can prosper from the potential that each one has,” said the president, who mentioned the agreements reached between Paraguay and Taiwan in investments, trade, education, public security, infrastructures and armed forces.
Abdo Benitez emphasized that the alliance with Taiwan is part of a global strategy to show to the world the competitive advantages of Paraguay as an investment destination and the quality of Paraguayan exports to make the country “a business platform in the region.”
A joint statement was signed during the visit, ushering in a new era of bilateral relations and strategic alliance, according to the Paraguayan president.
Paraguay’s reiteration of its commitment to Taiwan comes after five of its diplomatic allies broke ties with Taipei to establish relations with Beijing since Tsai Ing-wen won the presidential elections in Taiwan in 2016, including Panama, Dominican Republic and El Salvador.