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Paraguay Health Minister Arrives in Taiwan for 5-Day Visit

Taipei, May 7 (CNA) Paraguay’s Minister of Public Health and Social Welfare Julio Borba, and the director of international relations for his ministry, Cecilia Irazusta, have arrived in Taiwan for a five-day visit, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced on Sunday.

During their trip that will last until Thursday, the Paraguayan officials will be visiting Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare, National Health Insurance Administration, and TaiwanICDF, which is responsible for the nation’s foreign aid projects, MOFA said in a press release.

They will also be welcomed by Taiwan’s Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yui (俞大㵢) in a MOFA banquet, and visit Paraguay’s embassy in Taiwan, among other designations, the statement added.

The trip makes the two Paraguayan senior officials the first delegation from the South American ally to visit Taiwan after the country elected a new president, who pledged late last month to continue to stay with Taipei instead of changing diplomatic allegiance to Beijing.

President-elect Santiago Peña has pledged to continue to strengthen Paraguay’s six decades of diplomatic relations with Taiwan after winning the April 30 presidential election, in which Paraguay’s formal recognition of Taiwan was at stake.

Peña, a 44-year-old economist and former finance minister, grabbed 43 percent of the votes in the election to win a comfortable victory against a split opposition.

His main center-left rival Efrain Alegre, who campaigned on a pledge to switch Paraguay’s allegiance to China, garnered 27 percent of the votes, and populist Paraguayo Cubas received 23 percent.

The result eased fears that Taiwan, officially named the Republic of China (ROC), would lose another formal diplomatic ally to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) after seeing the number of states officially recognizing it dwindle to 13 in recent years.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minster Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) told reporters in Taipei on Saturday that his ministry will soon invite Peña to visit Taiwan sometime before his inauguration on Aug. 15.

The ministry is also planning to send representatives to attend the new leader’s inauguration.

Wu would not disclose, however, if President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) or Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) would lead the delegation.

Paraguay, the ROC’s only diplomatic ally in South America, has had official relations with the ROC since 1957.

Source : Focustaiwan