President Ma Ying-jeou met on the morning of November 2 with a delegation led by Guatemalan First Lady Ana Violeta Fagiani Enriquez de Maldonado. In addition to explaining the close cooperation and strong relations between the two nations, the president expressed hope that Guatemala will continue to take concrete steps to support the ROC’s meaningful participation in international organizations.
In remarks, the president stated that Guatemalan President Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre is a distinguished legal scholar and politician, who previously served as a justice and president of the Guatemalan Constitutional Court. He has long been a friend of the ROC, and his wife is an outstanding diplomat and leader in women's issues. Early on, First Lady Fagiani was stationed in El Salvador, Mexico, and Spain, and has long been active in work related to children, the elderly, the mentally and physically disabled, and women in Guatemala. She will also interact with related organizations during her stay in Taiwan, exchanging experiences. President Ma remarked that he immediately sent a message of congratulations to President Maldonado upon his inauguration in September of this year, also expressing high hopes for the stable development of bilateral relations and further cooperation in a wide range of areas.
President Ma mentioned that he and his wife Chow Mei-ching (周美青) led a delegation to Guatemala in May of 2009, and during that visit his wife visited an orphanage to better understand the situation of underprivileged children there. The Ju Percussion Group was also part of that delegation and performed at the National Theatre, with Mrs. Ma presiding over the opening ceremonies. Their performance was greeted with enthusiastic applause, and the president said the passion and warmth of the Guatemalan people made a deep impression that has stayed with him to this day.
The president stated that upon taking office in 2008, his administration immediately adopted a foreign assistance policy wherein the purpose must be legitimate, the process lawful, and the implementation effective. This has allowed aid to benefit the populace at large, and highlights the ROC’s positive image as a provider of humanitarian aid to the international community, he said.
President Ma mentioned that ROC-Guatemala relations have been close and cordial since official ties were established in 1933, and that the ROC government has consistently supported the First Lady's Secretariat for Social Work (Secretaria de Obras Sociales de la Esposa del Presidente, SOSEP). One example is the ROC sponsorship of over 500 mobile medical clinics in various communities throughout that nation that have provided free medical services to over 10,000 Guatemalans. The vast majority of those receiving care live in remote, underserved areas, the president said. In addition, the ROC has supported the SOSEP by building senior citizen centers, as well as by donating wheel chairs, incubators for pre-term infants, and ambulances, among other medical equipment, to assist in promoting community welfare work. These efforts are all testament to the close cooperation and friendly relations between the two countries, the president said.
The president also stated that Guatemala has consistently supported the ROC's meaningful participation in United Nations (UN)-affiliated organizations such as the International Civil Aviation Organization and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Last month, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales Moscoso spoke on behalf of the ROC during the General Debate of the UN General Assembly. President Ma expressed his deepest gratitude to Guatemala for its endeavors to support Taiwan's efforts to participation in the international community.
President Ma also noted that outlying areas of Guatemala City, Guatemala's capital, recently experienced devastating mudslides with over 500 people killed, injured, or missing. The president expressed his deepest condolences to the people of Guatemala and hopes that the public will return to their normal lives as soon as possible.