President Tsai Ing-wen, accompanied by Vice President Chen Chien-jen and Mrs. Chen, hosted a state banquet for Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales and his wife at noon on April 30. President Tsai expressed hope for further progress and development in both countries through greater cooperation and exchanges.
In remarks, President Tsai began by expressing her delight at having the opportunity to receive her good friends President Morales and his wife in Taiwan. President Tsai visited Guatemala two years ago, and in her address to the Guatemalan Congress, she stated that world-class Guatemalan coffee can be found throughout Taiwan. She expressed confidence that during his visit, President Morales would be able to experience the current state of exchanges between our two countries.
In Taiwan, President Tsai pointed out, Guatemalan Huehuetenango coffee has already become a unique brand. In 2018 alone, Taiwan imported more than USD$10 million in coffee from Guatemala, and it is their most important export to Taiwan. For this reason, outside of the authentic Taiwanese culinary delights at the state banquet, Guatemalan coffee was also served, she said.
The president stated that outstanding Guatemalan coffee is very popular in Taiwan, and she expressed hope that more people can have the chance to enjoy its rich flavor. That is why, she said, Taiwan is cooperating with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration to combat coffee leaf rust, to ensure the sustainable development of Guatemala's coffee industry, and allow Taiwan and the rest of the world to continue to enjoy its aroma.
President Tsai stated that in addition to agricultural cooperation, Taiwan looks forward to deepening exchanges in all areas with Guatemala. She wanted everyone to know that Taiwan's cabinet has a "go, go, go" attitude, and President Morales is known for his "mobile cabinet" as well. Over the past three years, President Morales has led cabinet members on visits around the country to better understand public opinion, and actively establish a clean and competent government. She stated that his efforts have been lauded by the international community.
President Tsai pointed out that President Morales has brought about many reforms and introduced new visions for the Guatemalan people in important areas such as healthcare, education, and security. She expressed hope that through greater cooperation and exchanges, we can foster progress and development in both our countries.
President Tsai also took the opportunity to thank Guatemalan Ambassador to Taiwan Olga María Aguja Zúñiga, whose term of office will soon be coming to an end, for engaging in substantive communication and cooperation with our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, deepening Taiwan-Guatemala relations, and making the friendship between the two countries even more stable.
In closing, President Tsai welcomed President Morales and his wife to Taiwan once again, and invited all the guests present to raise their glasses in a toast to President Morales' good health, prosperity for Guatemala, and a lasting friendship between Taiwan and Guatemala.
In his remarks that followed, President Morales stated that Taiwan has successfully showed the world its vision for prosperity and development, and he offered Guatemala's support for Taiwan once again. He expressed confidence that the decades-long bilateral friendship would remain close. Both countries share democratic values, and are committed to the spirit of freedom, peace, and mutually beneficial cooperation.
President Morales praised Taiwan as a beacon safeguarding freedom, democracy, and human rights, and expressed his respect for President Tsai's bravery and outstanding leadership. He stated that President Tsai has helped Taiwan to shine brighter on the international stage, and expressed confidence that her administrative team will make Taiwan a model for the world, and a role model for Guatemala.
In regards to bilateral cooperative projects, President Morales pointed out that the bilateral projects Taiwan provides for its diplomatic allies in areas such as education, agriculture, healthcare, infrastructure, and technology have proven to the world that Taiwan has an effective national development model. The people of Guatemala are honored by Taiwan's generosity, and cherish Taiwan's assistance. He expressed his strong belief that through this visit, bilateral relations will grow even stronger.
Attendees from the Taiwan side included National Security Council Secretary-General David T. Lee (李大維), Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), and Ambassador to Guatemala Lai Chien-chung (賴建中). Other guests included Guatemala's Foreign Minister Sandra Érica Jovel Polanco and Ambassador to Taiwan Olga María Aguja Zúñiga, and Nicaraguan Ambassador to Taiwan William Manuel Tapia Alemán (head of the foreign diplomatic corps in Taiwan).