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President Tsai to depart on January 7 for Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador
President Tsai to depart on January 7 for Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador

The Office of the President held a press conference on the morning of December 20 to announce that President Tsai Ing-wen will lead a delegation on a trip to visit diplomatic allies Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador from January 7 to 15, 2017. Presidential Office Spokesperson Huang Chung-yen (黃重諺) opened the press conference with introductory remarks, while Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Javier Ching-shan Hou (侯清山) laid out the planned itinerary.

Deputy Minister Hou noted that the Republic of Nicaragua, a Central American diplomatic ally of Taiwan, had just completed a smooth and successful presidential election on November 6, resulting in re-election of incumbent President Daniel Ortega and the election of First Lady Rosario Murillo as vice president. They will assume office on January 10, 2017 and President Ortega has already formally invited President Tsai to attend his inauguration ceremony. In response to President Ortega's warm invitation, and in order to enhance Taiwan's ties with diplomatic allies in the region, President Tsai will lead a delegation to Nicaragua for the inauguration ceremony. She will also visit neighboring Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, all three of which are diplomatic allies of Taiwan. In addition to taking advantage of "summit diplomacy" during the trip to enhance friendly ties with diplomatic allies in Central America, President Tsai will see first-hand the successes that have been achieved through multilateral cooperation under the aegis of the Central American Integration System (SICA). This trip will also seek to strengthen economic and trade ties and cooperation with Taiwan's diplomatic allies and will continue promoting the principles of the government's "steadfast diplomacy" policy.

Remarking that this trip is codenamed the "Ing-Jie Project," Deputy Minister Hou stated that the purpose of the trip is to use summit diplomacy to continue promoting and implementing a strategy for cooperation between Taiwan and its diplomatic allies in a manner designed to ensure mutual assistance for mutual benefits and the achievement of win-win situations. Included in the delegation will be National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee (李大維), Minister Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興) of the Overseas Community Affairs Council, deputy ministers from other cabinet agencies, members of the Legislative Yuan, and leaders from the business community.

Commenting on the itinerary for this trip, Deputy Minister Hou stated that the delegation will use a chartered aircraft for the entire journey. The group is scheduled to depart on the morning of January 7 and arrive in Honduras on the afternoon of January 8, where they will stay for one evening. The delegation will leave Honduras on the afternoon of January 9 and proceed to Nicaragua, where they will stay for two evenings and take part in President Ortega's inauguration ceremony and related activities. On the morning of January 11 they will depart Nicaragua and travel on to Guatemala for a one-night stay. On the afternoon of January 12 they will leave Guatemala for El Salvador. On the afternoon of January 13 they will depart El Salvador and arrive back in Taiwan on the evening of January 15. The trip will last a total of nine days and eight nights.

Deputy Minister Hou stated that during the trip President Tsai will meet with heads of state and government in every country she visits to exchange views regarding bilateral and international issues of shared concern, and to tour bilateral cooperation projects carried out by Taiwan and its diplomatic allies. The countries visited during this trip are planning to arrange activities with a distinctively local flavor to help our delegation members better understand the state and scenery of our diplomatic allies in Central America. The visit to Honduras, for example, is being undertaken in response to an invitation extended by Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez when he was visiting Taiwan this past October. While in Honduras, President Tsai will visit an exhibition of the successes achieved by the One Town, One Product (OTOP) project jointly carried out by Taiwan and Honduras. While in Nicaragua, President Tsai will attend the inauguration of President Ortega and Vice President Murillo to convey the congratulations of the government and people of Taiwan, and will also tour a Taiwan-invested apparel factory. In Guatemala, President Tsai will tour the city of Antigua, which the UNESCO has designated as a World Heritage site. This visit will familiarize the people of Taiwan with this charming old city, thus helping to boost Guatemala's tourism industry. In addition, Central American coffee is known the world over for its outstanding quality, so in order to expand economic and trade ties between Taiwan and its diplomatic allies, the president's delegation will visit a coffee plantation in El Salvador, at which time a noted coffee expert will put on a coffee brewing demonstration. This activity will help Taiwan's food and drink industry to better understand the coffee industry in Central America, and promises to generate opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. During this trip the president will also have chances for warm and friendly interaction, including the hosting of banquets, with members of the expatriate community as well as ROC diplomats and their family members. These occasions will afford opportunities to show that the Taiwan government values the work they are doing overseas and cares for their well-being.

Deputy Minister Hou pointed out that President Tsai will have a very full agenda during this visit to four of Taiwan's Central American diplomatic allies. Arrangements are still being worked out, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue working with other agencies of the Taiwan government as well as our diplomatic allies to ensure a successful trip.

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