President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by Vice President Chen Chien-jen and Mrs. Chen, met with Guatemala President Jimmy Morales and Mrs. Morales on the morning of April 30. President Tsai explained some of the successes of Taiwan-Guatemala cooperation in medical care and education, and said she hopes that together, we can go on to even greater achievements, and make even more contributions to the international community.
In remarks, President Tsai said that the last time she met President Morales was in Paraguay last August, and that she was pleased to welcome President and Mrs. Morales to Taiwan less than a year later. She then once again welcomed President Morales on his first visit, and First Lady Hilda Patricia Marroquín Argueta de Morales for her second visit since she attended President Tsai and Vice President Chen's inauguration ceremony.
President Tsai then said that over the past two years or so, since January of 2017 when she exchanged views with President Morales on various topics while visiting his country, cooperative exchanges between Taiwan and Guatemala have achieved even more success.
President Tsai went on to explain that in response to President Morales' policy to raise the quality of medical care, Taiwan and Guatemala have strengthened medical exchanges and jointly promoted a health care program for pregnant women and newborn babies so that Guatemala's leaders of tomorrow receive the highest quality care.
In the education field, President Tsai noted that Taiwan and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration are working together to assist San Carlos University of Guatemala to upgrade hardware and software facilities. Over 60 students from Guatemala are also currently studying in Taiwan with support from the Taiwan Scholarship program, and she believes that those students will all become important bridges for future Taiwan-Guatemala exchanges.
President Tsai also recalled that when she visited the Guatemalan Congress, she inscribed the phrase "Strive for democracy, pursue freedom" in the guest book. Democracy and freedom, she said, are values that Taiwan and Guatemala share, and we cherish the friendship of mutual support that binds our two countries.
President Tsai also expressed gratitude for Guatemala's international support for Taiwan, including the Guatemalan representative's outspoken support in May last year at the World Health Assembly. She also hopes that in the future, joint efforts by Taiwan and Guatemala will yield even more successes and greater contributions to the international community.
In his remarks that followed, President Morales first thanked President Tsai for the courteous reception and hospitality that his delegation had received, and reaffirmed that both governments are committed to strengthening friendly bilateral diplomatic ties and cooperative relations. In fact, he said, since President Tsai took office, he has had many important meetings with her, with frequent high-level reciprocal visits by government agencies. These exchanges, he believes, show the international community the firm political, diplomatic, economic, and cultural cooperation between Taiwan and Guatemala. He believes that this trip to Taiwan will deepen Taiwan-Guatemala cooperation in all areas.
Noting that the Taiwan government provided Guatemala with extensive aid after a volcanic eruption in June last year caused great damage, President Morales expressed gratitude on behalf of the government and people of Guatemala.
President Morales said that Taiwan and Guatemala both share values like democracy, freedom, and equality, and have outstanding achievements through bilateral cooperation in medicine, health care, infrastructure, technical assistance, agriculture, education, technology, and tourism.
In the medical field, President Morales also thanked Taiwan for lending a helping hand to improve care for newborn babies. Guatemala's First Lady is overseeing that program, which has significantly upgraded medical treatment in Guatemala. Taiwan has also helped Guatemala repair and reconstruct much of its transportation infrastructure. He hopes that Taiwan and Guatemala will continue to work for the wellbeing of people in both countries.
In economics, President Morales said that Guatemala is a coffee-producing country with great potential. So for Taiwan enterprises, Guatemala is a good choice for investments, and he also hopes to attract more foreign capital to Guatemala. He then expressed hope that the Taiwan-Guatemala free trade agreement will have broad effect, further enhancing bilateral commercial exchanges and cooperation.
President Morales said that Guatemala is a beautiful country and welcomed everyone to visit, and that this trip helped him understand why Taiwan is the "pearl of Asia," and welcomed everyone to get to know Taiwan.
Guests included Guatemalan Minister of Foreign Affairs Sandra Érica Jovel Polanco and Ambassador to Taiwan Olga María Aguja Zúñiga.