On the morning of January 8, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Paraguayan Congress and Senate President Fernando Lugo. She expressed hope that her guests would continue to support Taiwan's international participation so that the two countries can help each other make even greater contributions to the international community.
In remarks, President Tsai first welcomed Mr. Lugo's delegation and noted that this was the first delegation from a diplomatic ally to visit Taiwan in 2018, so the visit had special meaning while demonstrating the close friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay.
The president pointed out that Taiwan and Paraguay have had diplomatic relations for over 60 years, and that Taiwan values the bilateral friendship. In 2016, less than one month after taking office as president, she made a state visit to Paraguay where she was honored to be invited to speak before the Congress, and received a warm welcome from the parliamentarians. So she was very happy to be able to receive the delegation in Taiwan, the president said.
Noting that this was Mr. Lugo's first visit to Taiwan as a parliamentary leader, President Tsai stated that he also visited twice while he was president of Paraguay, and clearly values Taiwan. The delegation members are all heavyweight political leaders from various political parties in Paraguay, so President Tsai said she looks forward to having more opportunities to cooperate with them and upgrade bilateral relations.
The president also noted that over the past year and more, Taiwan and Paraguay have continued to promote a variety of cooperative projects, and that bilateral relations have become increasingly close as one after another. She added that the cooperative goals she proposed during her speech before the Congress of Paraguay have been realized. For example, the quota for Paraguayan beef exports to Taiwan has already been raised to 10,000 metric tons, and will be raised again this year.
The president went on to say that the number of scholarships provided under the Taiwan Scholarship Program was doubled last year to 28. That number will increase to 40 this year, so there will be 55 outstanding students from Paraguay studying in Taiwan on scholarships this year.
Turning to bilateral economic cooperation, President Tsai stated that the Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of Paraguay signed last July will take effect this coming February, so we can expect bilateral economic and trade relations to grow even closer. Another major cooperative project, a Taiwan-Paraguay industrial and technological university that both countries are currently promoting, will see concrete progress after a letter of intent is signed.
And lastly, President Tsai once again thanked Paraguay for speaking out on Taiwan's behalf at international venues for many years, and expressed hope that Mr. Lugo and the other members of the delegation would continue to support Taiwan's international participation so that the two countries can help each other make even greater contributions to the international community.
The delegation also included Paraguayan Senators Victor Alcides Bogado Gonzalez, Sixto Pereira Galeano, Juan Dario Monges Espinola and Mrs. Monges Espinola, and Fernando Alberto Silva Facetti.