On the afternoon of October 10, President Tsai Ing-wen met with Mr. Luis Maria Benitez Riera, President of the Supreme Court of Justice of Paraguay, and his wife. In addition to welcoming the visitors to Taiwan to attend national day celebrations, President Tsai also said she hopes to further enhance exchanges of all kinds between Taiwan and Paraguay, and strengthen the bilateral friendship.
In remarks, President Tsai opened by welcoming Mr. Benitez Riera back to Taiwan, noting that this was their third meeting. The president said she was especially happy that Mr. Benitez Riera came to Taiwan twice in 2017, first in July to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Paraguay, and now to attend Taiwan's national day celebrations.
President Tsai pointed out that Mr. Benitez Riera has always worked to enhance judicial exchanges between Taiwan and Paraguay. For example, the two countries have drafted an "agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters" and a "treaty on transfer of sentenced persons in criminal matters," and are working to get them signed. Both of these are important examples of judicial cooperation. The president added that Taiwan looks forward to having even more opportunities for judicial cooperation in the future.
President Tsai emphasized that Taiwan and Paraguay, having maintained formal diplomatic ties for 60 years, have a deep friendship and many achievements as a result of cooperation and exchanges. In terms of social welfare, the two countries are currently cooperating to construct social housing, and more than 1,700 units are already in use. As for educational exchanges, Taiwan has dispatched Chinese language teachers to Paraguay to conduct a special Chinese class at its National Congress and also to teach in universities. Next year Taiwan will also increase the number of scholarships so that outstanding students from Paraguay can come to study in Taiwan, thereby strengthening cooperation in education.
The president further stated that in order to continue to enhance economic and trade relations, Taiwan has increased the quota for Paraguayan beef exports to Taiwan, and continues to promote all kinds of technical cooperation projects. And thanks to efforts in both countries, the "Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of Paraguay" has already been approved by both houses of the Paraguayan Congress, and it will soon be forwarded to President Horacio Cartes for promulgation, while Taiwan's Legislative Yuan has also identified this agreement as a top priority matter for legislative review. President Tsai expressed confidence that the agreement will take bilateral economic cooperation to the next level.
The president thanked Paraguay for speaking out in support of Taiwan in international venues. At the United Nations General Assembly this past September, for example, President Cartes once again called on countries to support Taiwan's international participation. She then asked Mr. Benitez Riera to convey Taiwan's gratitude and greetings to President Cartes.
And finally, besides again welcoming President Benitez Riera and his wife to Taiwan, President Tsai expressed hope that Taiwan and Paraguay will have even more exchanges, wished Mr. Benitez Riera a successful trip, and called for a strong and lasting friendship between the two countries.
Visiting guests included Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen.