On the morning of October 8, President Tsai Ing-wen welcomed Republic of Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benítez and his wife to Taiwan with full military honors. President Tsai thanked the Paraguayan president for leading a delegation to Taiwan to take part in the ROC National Day celebrations. She expressed hope that Taiwan and Paraguay will support each other in their shared commitment to democracy, and that the two countries will continue to expand the scope of bilateral cooperation. Besides being "brother nations," she said, Taiwan and Paraguay should also be "business partners" that together create mutually beneficial win-win situations.
The welcome ceremony with military honors got underway at 10 a.m. in the Main Plaza of the National Performing Arts Center. Following a 21-gun salute and playing of the two countries' national anthems, President Tsai and President Abdo each delivered remarks.
In her remarks, President Tsai noted that Taiwan was welcoming President Abdo and his wife with full military honors on their first state visit to Taiwan. On behalf of the people and government of Taiwan, she extended her sincerest welcome to President Abdo and his delegation.
President Tsai pointed out that she first led a delegation to Paraguay in 2016, and then this past August, at the invitation of President Abdo, she visited Paraguay again to attend her counterpart's inauguration ceremony. She expressed delight that President Abdo accepted her invitation to lead a delegation to take part in Taiwan's National Day celebrations, clearly demonstrating the true friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay.
President Tsai mentioned that among Taiwan's diplomatic allies, Paraguay is located the farthest from Taiwan, but the distance has not affected the bilateral friendship. Taiwan and Paraguay have had formal diplomatic relations for over six decades, she said, and the two countries have supported each other in their shared commitment to democracy, while bilateral cooperation and exchange have continued without interruption, and have grown even firmer and closer over the years. Moving forward, she stated, we hope to continue expanding the scope of bilateral cooperation to include such fields as public health, infrastructure, and economic and trade cooperation. She further added that Taiwan encourages domestic firms to invest in Paraguay so that, besides being "brother nations," Taiwan and Paraguay can also be "business partners" that together create mutually beneficial win-win situations.
President Tsai expressed belief that this visit by President Abdo will enable him to better understand Taiwan. The friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay, she said, will certainly continue to grow deeper and closer on the basis of the principles of "steadfast diplomacy and mutual assistance for mutual benefits."
Following the conclusion of President Tsai's remarks, President Abdo started his remarks by thanking President Tsai and the people of Taiwan for the warm hospitality afforded to his delegation. He said that this was his first state visit to Taiwan in his capacity as head of state, and that he has a special feeling of friendship toward this country. The greatness of the people of Taiwan, President Abdo said, lies in their commitment to freedom, autonomy, sovereignty, the pursuit of freedom, as well as their high-level of civic-mindedness and democratic discipline. In addition to expressing thanks, he reiterated his deep admiration and respect for the people of Taiwan.
President Abdo pointed out that Taiwan and Paraguay, since establishing official diplomatic ties 61 years ago, have built up a deep and steadfast relationship based on shared values. The two countries respect and affirm each other's values, he said, adding his belief that this state visit, in addition to further cementing bilateral diplomatic ties, will also enable the relationship to develop into a mutually beneficial strategic partnership, thus improving the lives and well-being of the peoples of the two countries.
President Abdo emphasized that the Republic of Paraguay is loyal to its diplomatic allies, and said he was honored to be present at 2018 ROC National Day celebrations. This visit to Taiwan, he said, shows that friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance between the peoples and governments of the two countries has advanced to a new era. He expressed hope that the people and government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) understand that Paraguay, located in the heart of South America, is Taiwan's brother nation and diplomatic ally with the deepest friendship. He added: "Our hearts beat forever in close rhythm."
Among those on hand for the welcome ceremony were Vice President Chen Chien-jen and Mrs. Chen, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德), Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), Control Yuan President Chang Po-ya (張博雅), National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), and the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan.