Purpose and results of the trip
After eight years of construction, the Panama Canal Expansion was completed and inaugurated in June 2016. Three months earlier in March, Panama President Juan Carlos Varela formally invited President Tsai Ing-wen to attend the inauguration ceremony for the canal expansion, set for June 26. And when the First Lady of Panama Lorena Isabel Castillo de Varela led a delegation to participate in President Tsa's inauguration in May, she reiterated the invitation on President Varela's behalf. Meanwhile, Paraguay President Horacio Cartes also led a delegation to President Tsai's inauguration, where he personally invited President Tsai to visit Paraguay.
Responding to these cordial invitations, President Tsai led a delegation between June 24 and July 2 to attend the inauguration ceremony for the Panama Canal Expansion, and to go on from there to visit Paraguay. This trip not only aimed to strengthen ties with the heads of state and officials of diplomatic allies, it also sought to carry out a new diplomatic thinking—"steadfast diplomacy"—based on building mutually beneficial two-way relationships with diplomatic allies. The delegation made two transit stops in the United States – Miami on the outbound leg and Los Angeles on the return leg. This was President Tsai's first time leading a delegation on an overseas diplomatic trip, aiming to strengthen our alliances with the two allies.
The 134-member delegation counted 89 non-press members, including National Security Council Secretary-General Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), Minister of Foreign Affairs David T. Lee (李大維), Minister of the Overseas Community Affairs Council Wu Hsin-hsing (吳新興), Deputy Secretaries-General to the President Jason Chien-sin Liu (劉建忻) and Tseng Hou-jen (曾厚仁), Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Javier Ching-shan Hou (侯清山), Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Yang Wei-fuu (楊偉甫), seven parliamentarians, leading entrepreneurs from the fields of solar energy, textiles, motor manufacturing and food processing, as well as delegation staff. The other 45 members were the traveling press corps