While meeting with Paraguayan Minister of Defense Bernardino Soto Estigarribia and Mrs. Soto on the morning of November 27, President Tsai Ing-wen stated that deepening the friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay is the shared objective of our entire government. She also expressed her firm belief that with the staunch support of Minister Soto, our two countries will achieve even more breakthroughs.
A translation of the president's remarks follows:
I want to welcome Minister Soto back to Taiwan for another visit. Successive presidents in Paraguay have relied upon your considerable talents. You are now serving as the Minister of Defense for the second time, and you are an old friend to Taiwan. In the course of military exchanges between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Paraguay, you have made numerous contributions. I am very pleased to have this opportunity today to meet with Minister Soto as well as our other distinguished guests.
Over the past three years, senior officials from the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Paraguay have engaged in frequent reciprocal visits. I myself have led two delegations to Paraguay, and President Mario Abdo Benítez came to Taiwan last year to take part in our National Day celebrations.
In the fields of both agriculture and education, our bilateral cooperation has continually broken new ground. This past May, for example, our embassy in Paraguay and the Taiwan Sugar Corporation joined forces for the first time to hold a major orchid exhibition in Paraguay. We hope that this visit to Taiwan by Minister Soto will further enhance our bilateral partnership.
When President Abdo Benítez visited Taiwan last year, he witnessed an air-ground joint military exercise, and military exchanges are an important aspect of our bilateral friendship. To promote bilateral exchanges, every year, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense carries out a training course for high-ranking officials from diplomatic allies and other friendly nations, including senior military officers from Paraguay. And I make sure to meet with each year's class.
Each of our exchange activities brings our relationship closer. Just last month, our Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) led a delegation to Paraguay to seek new ways to strengthen cooperation in agriculture, livestock, and green energy.
Deepening the friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay is the shared objective of our entire government, and I firmly believe that with the staunch support of Minister Soto, our two countries will achieve even more breakthroughs. In closing, I want to wish you all a smooth and successful trip. In addition, Minister Soto, please convey my best regards to President Abdo Benítez. Thank you.