Bloomberg — Guatemala said its ties with Taiwan are firm, reiterating support for the Asian island just a week after neighboring Honduras cut ties in favor of China.
President Alejandro Giammattei said he had sincere and frank exchanges of opinion with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen during her visit, adding that the two sides are strategic partners.
“The ties between Guatemala and Taiwan are unbreakable,” Giammattei said at a joint press conference Friday with Tsai in Guatemala City. “We promote resolving disputes by dialogue and negotiation, and work together to satisfy people’s desire for freedom, prosperity, development, and territorial integrity.”
Guatemala has been an ally of Taiwan of over six decades, and the island now has full diplomatic relations with just 13 countries after Honduras said last month it now recognizes the territory as part of China.
“Taiwan is the only and the real China to us,” said Giammattei, calling Tsai’s visit “very important”. The central American country supports Taiwan’s participation in the United Nations, and Taipei has assisted Guatemala in various areas including energy and agriculture, he said.
Taiwan and Guatemala are democratic partners with shared values of freedom and human rights, Tsai said. Guatemala stood up for Taiwan after China launched military drills against the island last year, and supported Taiwan’s international participation on various occasions and through different means, Tsai said.
The Taiwan leader next heads to Belize and will pass through Los Angeles next week. There she’s set to meet House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The Biden administration is going to unprecedented lengths to play down the importance of Tsai’s visit to the US, as officials try to keep an already soured relationship with China from getting any worse.
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