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President Chen Attends the 179th Anniversary of the Independence of the Five Central American Allies

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) Republic of China President Chen Shui-bian said Friday that the nation greatly values its friendship with its Central American allies and will continue reinforcing cooperative ties with these countries.

Chen made the remarks at a cocktail-party organized in Taipei to celebrate the 179th anniversary of the independence of Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Chen congratulated the five Central American countries on the occasion of their National Day, and expressed admiration to their people and governments for their efforts in pursuing democracy, social stability, national development and economic prosperity.

"The long distance that separates the ROC and Central America has not affected the close friendships that exist," Chen said, adding that many people of Chinese descent have achieved great success in Central America thanks to the friendship and hospitality of the people there.

Like the ROC, he went on, the five allies are dedicated to the pursuit of democracy, liberty, rule of law and human rights, and their relations have been reinforced over the years through exchanges in various aspects.

Chen also reiterated his gratitude to the governments and people of Costa Rica and Nicaragua for their hospitality during his visit to the region last month.

He also revealed that ROC Vice President Annette Lu will lead a delegation next week to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Belize, a move that reflects the fact that the ROC treasures its profound relationship with Central America.

"The five Central American countries have offered their firm support to the ROC's bid to join the United Nations and other international organizations and for this I express the maximum gratitude to the governments and people of the five nations," Chen said.

He added that the ROC government will continue strengthening cooperative relations with the five countries based on the existing frameworks.

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