efe-epaTaipei

Guatemala’s president on Tuesday reiterated his support for Taiwan during the welcome ceremony held at the Liberty Square in Taipei where he was received with military honors by his Taiwanese counterpart.

“Guatemala is a friend and ally of Taiwan. This visit seeks to strengthen the exchange and cooperation processes of the last decades which have greatly consolidated the relations," said Jimmy Morales during the ceremony that marked the beginning of his four day official visit.

He said that Guatemala appreciated and valued the relationship with the island and the visit was a result of historic fraternity and friendship between the two countries.

Morales noted the mutual areas of opportunities for cooperation and exchange, saying "one of the aims of the visit is to deepen cooperation and trade”.

Guatemala is one of Taiwan's nine allies from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The island has only 17 diplomatic partners owing to its sovereignty conflict with China, which demands that its allies break off official ties with Taipei.

Since 2016, five Taiwan allies, including Panama, Dominican Republic and El Salvador, have established diplomatic relations with China. It has only four Spanish speaking allies: Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

President Tsai Ing-wen, during her speech on Tuesday, said that Guatemala was a historic diplomatic friend of Taiwan and for the last 85 years and despite the geographical distance, the friendship between the two countries was renewed with an intense exchange of cooperation in areas such as infrastructure, medicine and health, education, economy along with commerce and technology.

She also said Taiwan would continue working along with Guatemala – based on firm, supportive and mutually beneficial diplomacy – following a bilateral agenda that seeks to create prosperity of the two countries.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, Morales and his delegation are set to visit National Palace Museum, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei 101, Daxi Tea Factory and Sun Moon Lake.

They are also expected to meet with Guatemalan students living in Taiwan.

The ministry said Guatemala had actively supported Taiwan's international participation in relevant areas in the last few years and have cooperated in infrastructure, public health, education, consulting innovation for small and medium enterprises along with agriculture and bamboo industry.

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