While meeting with President-elect Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei of the Republic of Guatemala on the morning of October 21, President Tsai Ing-wen stated that Taiwan and Guatemala cooperate closely in such fields as education, agriculture, and medicine. She expressed hope that after President-elect Giammattei takes office, he will continue to support Taiwan's international participation to establish a new milestone for bilateral cooperation.
A translation of President Tsai's remarks follows:
This past August, President-elect Giammattei emerged victorious in Guatemala's presidential election. And less than two months later, he has led a delegation of important future cabinet officials to Taiwan. This is ample proof of how much he values diplomatic ties between our two countries.
I want to extend congratulations to him on his election as president by a wide margin. I would also like to welcome all the members in his delegation to Taiwan to engage in exchanges with our government agencies.
The Republic of China (Taiwan) and Guatemala cooperate closely in such fields as education, agriculture, and medicine. President-elect Giammattei has spent many years in Guatemala's private sector and understands the needs of the people. I firmly believe that, under his leadership, cooperation between our countries will yield the best possible results and that we can create a better future together.
Last month, a group of Taiwanese tech firms specializing in information systems integration visited Guatemala and met with incoming Minister of Economy Antonio Malouf and incoming Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Oscar Bonilla Aguirre. The two sides exchanged views on smart cities and smart agriculture, both strong fields in Taiwan. I hope there will be opportunities in the future to cooperate with the government of Guatemala.
I am also happy to see two incoming members of Guatemala's Congress of the Republic, Mr. Maynor Gabriel Mejía Popol and Mr. Guillermo Alberto Cifuentes Barragán, in the delegation. Our Legislative Yuan just last month established a Taiwan-Guatemala parliamentary friendship group, and we hope that these two distinguished guests will vigorously support our diplomatic ties in the Congress.
Taiwan and Guatemala have had formal diplomatic relations for over 80 years, and our friendship has grown steadily stronger thanks to the efforts of many people. President-elect Giammattei's father has been an important friend to Taiwan. When the elder Giammattei served as president of the Guatemalan Olympic committee, he actively helped Taiwan defend its membership on the Olympic Committee. He has also visited Taiwan and received a commendation and decoration from our government.
As I meet today at our Presidential Office with President-elect Giammattei, I sense all the more clearly our countries' deep friendship that spans across generations. After President-elect Giammattei takes office, I hope that he will continue to support Taiwan's international participation to usher in a new atmosphere in Guatemala and establish a new milestone for bilateral cooperation. I would also like to extend my best wishes for a lasting friendship between our two countries and hope that President-elect Giammattei and his delegation may enjoy their stay in Taiwan.
President-elect Giammattei then gave remarks, stating that it was an honor to be here in Taiwan and that the purpose of his visit is to further deepen our bilateral friendship and cooperative ties. Taiwan serves as a model for Guatemala because under President Tsai's leadership, Taiwan has made continuous improvements in innovative fields. Guatemala hopes to become an innovative country as well, as evidenced in the fields of agricultural security and public health and wellness. He expressed hope that we can further deepen our bilateral ties, and work to achieve even greater development through our friendship and cooperation.
President-elect Giammattei stated that he wanted to specially thank President Tsai on behalf of Guatemala for providing precious assistance and cooperation for many years, and Guatemala has made good use of that assistance. He also thanked Taiwan's ambassadors to Guatemala, both past and present, for their proactive attitudes towards bilateral cooperation. He expressed confidence that Taiwan and Guatemala can continue to develop a stronger relationship, and we can make this the greatest moment in our more than 80 years of diplomatic ties.
President-elect Giammattei emphasized that President Tsai is Central America's strongest friend, and the Guatemalan government will be Taiwan's strongest ally and friend in Central America as well. He then invited President Tsai to attend his inauguration on January 14 and said it would be his greatest honor to have President Tsai in attendance. He stated that he chose to visit Taiwan before his inauguration to send a clear message to the world that Guatemala stands with Taiwan, and we will work hand-in-hand to become each other's strongest allies and further develop our bilateral ties.