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Vice President Lai issues remarks after visit to Paraguay
Vice President Lai issues remarks after visit to Paraguay

On the morning of August 18, Vice President Lai Ching-te returned to Taiwan after leading a delegation to the Republic of Paraguay to attend the inauguration of President Santiago Peña Palacios. Upon arriving at Taoyuan International Airport, the vice president discussed the results of his trip, stating that he and his delegation had successfully achieved their objectives of strengthening the friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay and expanding our bilateral collaboration. He also thanked his fellow citizens for working together to show the international community that Taiwan is a force for good, making it possible for a progressive, confident, and dignified Taiwan to engage with the international community and win global support.

In his remarks at the airport, Vice President Lai stated that, acting as President Tsai Ing-wen's envoy, he had led a delegation that included Secretary-General to the President Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍), Deputy Secretary-General to the President Alex Huang (黃重諺), and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Tah-ray Yui (俞大㵢) to our diplomatic ally Paraguay to congratulate President Peña on his inauguration on behalf of the Republic of China (Taiwan). He also noted that they had transited through New York and San Francisco on this journey of six-and-a-half days. Having just landed back in Taiwan, the vice president informed his fellow citizens that he and the delegation were safe and sound and thanked everyone for their concern and support which helped make this trip a success. 

Expressing his thanks to Paraguay for the warm hospitality his delegation received, the vice president said that wherever they went, the Paraguayan people welcomed them enthusiastically and the Paraguayan government treated them as honored guests. He added that in addition to attending the presidential inauguration, the delegation were invited to a prayer ceremony, a luncheon held by the president and first lady, and a celebration of the 486th anniversary of Asunción's founding. The vice president noted that he also had a meeting with President Peña, where he conveyed the best wishes of President Tsai and the Taiwanese people and wished President Peña a successful term of office that enhances the well-being of the Paraguayan people. 

The vice president said that President Peña believes the friendship between Paraguay and the Republic of China (Taiwan) is founded on our shared values of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights, and that President Peña will staunchly support our bilateral partnership and sincerely hopes that by strengthening the cooperation between our peoples and governments, we can take our bilateral relationship and people-to-people ties to new heights. The vice president noted that, in a rare display, President Peña reiterated in his inaugural address that the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of Paraguay are brothers that share the values of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights and stated that he will continue to promote collaboration with the Republic of China (Taiwan) in all areas to further bolster our bilateral relationship.

Vice President Lai mentioned that he also met with outgoing President Mario Abdo Benítez and conveyed the people of Taiwan and President Tsai's gratitude to him for enhancing our bilateral relationship and wide-ranging collaboration during his five years in office. The vice president added that during their meeting, President Abdo said that, in his role as a senator for life, he would continue working to strengthen our bilateral ties and assist in our bilateral cooperation projects.

Commenting on one of the objectives for this trip – to expand bilateral collaboration – the vice president pointed out that President Peña is looking to alleviate poverty through education, healthcare, and employment, three areas in which we have already initiated cooperative projects and will continue to strengthen our efforts. In terms of education, the vice president stated that this July Taiwan-Paraguay Polytechnic University, jointly established by our two countries, produced its first cohort of graduates, some of whom have already found jobs and are very optimistic about their futures. He expressed confidence that these graduates will drive Paraguay's future development and prosperity while acting as bridges connecting our countries, deepening our bilateral ties and collaboration.   

Regarding cooperation in healthcare, the vice president said that in addition to providing equipment for medical institutions, Taiwan has helped Paraguay install medical information systems in over 200 medical facilities, making it more convenient for Paraguayans to access medical care and shortening lengthy hospital administrative procedures. The vice president added that these initiatives will continue in the future. In terms of employment, the vice president stated that Taiwan sent investment and business missions to Paraguay last year to assess how we can strengthen cooperation in industries including electric vehicles, food processing, and textiles, with preliminary proposals having already been drafted and Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) set to go to Paraguay to conduct further talks.  

The vice president also thanked the members of our overseas communities in Paraguay, New York, and San Francisco who spared no effort to give his delegation a warm welcome, saying that although these community members live abroad, their hearts are in Taiwan. On behalf of President Tsai and the people of Taiwan, the vice president thanked our overseas communities for supporting Taiwan and for their efforts to raise Taiwan's international profile.

The vice president also said that they were able to successfully complete their mission for this trip thanks to the concerted efforts of the delegation, support staff, members of the media, diplomatic personnel stationed abroad, and China Airlines staff, and expressed his gratitude as head of the delegation to everyone for all their hard work.

The vice president also said that most of all he wanted to thank the people of Taiwan because their collective efforts have made Taiwan ever stronger, made the international community see that Taiwan is a force for good, and made them value Taiwan more. He then thanked everyone for their hard work and contributions to the nation and society across various fields, which have allowed a progressive, confident, and dignified Taiwan to engage with the international community and win global support.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador Andrea Bowman and Paraguayan Charge d'Affaires a.i. Carlos Vidal Pintos were also at the airport to greet the returning delegation.

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