On the evening of July 13, President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President Chen Chien-jen hosted a state banquet at the Presidential Office Building for President Horacio Cartes of the Republic of Paraguay and his delegation. In addition to thanking President Cartes for his staunch support of the two countries' diplomatic relationship, she also expressed hope that, based on their existing firm foundation, Taiwan and Paraguay can continue to work hand-in-hand to further improve bilateral relations.
In remarks, President Tsai said that President Cartes is an old friend of Taiwan and has joined us for many important events, leading delegations to attend National Day celebrations in 2014, her inauguration ceremony in 2016, and now once again to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.
President Tsai pointed out that Paraguay is a true friend of Taiwan's, and this visit by President Cartes to celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations is not the only example. In trying times, Paraguay has stood by Taiwan at international venues on many occasions in the past. During the World Health Assembly this past May, many people in Taiwan watched on television as Paraguayan friends spoke out in support of Taiwan, saying exactly what Taiwanese people were thinking. "Taiwan is honored to have a good friend like Paraguay," she said.
For 60 years now, said President Tsai, Paraguay has been an important friend of Taiwan's, and in the future this indispensable partnership will continue, so Taiwan accorded President Cartes the highest level of courtesy on this state visit. Just that morning, for example, President Tsai accompanied President Cartes and his delegation to tour Kaohsiung City in southern Taiwan so that the visitors could see Taiwan's current state of development, and identify more opportunities for bilateral cooperation. She expressed confidence that during their trip to the south, the visitors got a good feel for the warm and cultured ways of the people of Taiwan and our country's rapidly developing cities. "And of course," said President Tsai, "I'm sure they came away impressed with the excellent southern Taiwanese cuisine."
President Tsai stated that the people of Taiwan have always stressed the importance of personal relationships, especially friendship, and said she admires President Cartes for his unwavering commitment to diplomatic ties between Taiwan and Paraguay. She also expressed hope that Taiwan and Paraguay can continue cooperating to further improve ties.
After the conclusion of President Tsai's remarks, President Cartes then delivered remarks of his own, noting that the two countries have maintained diplomatic relations for 60 years, and time has shown that a mutually beneficial friendship can overcome any barrier. He described the friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay as a model of diplomatic relations between two countries because, beyond the fact that the diplomatic relationship furthers the national interests of each side, it is also based on commitment, friendship, and the principle of mutual assistance for mutual benefits. He conveyed sincere thanks to Taiwan for helping Paraguay promote aquaculture and build public housing, providing Taiwan Scholarships, increasing the import quota for Paraguayan beef, and implementing visa-free entry to Taiwan for travelers from Paraguay.
President Cartes stressed that Paraguay has very publicly highlighted its friendship with Taiwan and supported Taiwan's participation in international multilateral mechanisms, and will, based on a sense of what is right, continue to speak out in defense of the Republic of China at international venues. He further expressed strong hope that the two countries will continue to enhance exchanges and cooperation, and will maintain a lasting alliance.
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Office of the President and the Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation cooperated to produce a special whisky to mark the occasion. President Tsai personally presented the commemorative whisky to President Cartes during the state banquet as a token of the deep friendship between the two countries. In addition to the commemorative whisky, the desserts served at the banquet and the gifts presented there all featured the logo adopted in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the two countries' diplomatic relations. Such thoughtful details served to show the importance that Taiwan attached to the visiting delegation.
Among those present at the state banquet were Judicial Yuan President Hsu Tzong-li (許宗力), Examination Yuan President Wu Jin-lin (伍錦霖), Control Yuan President Chang Po-ya (張博雅), Secretary-General to the President Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), and National Security Council Secretary-General Yen Teh-fa (嚴德發).