New Paraguayan president has no plans to end ties with Taiwan

New Paraguayan president has no plans to end ties with Taiwan

Santiago Pena says Taiwan is ‘ally’, ‘brother’ in first speech

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - President Santiago Pena said in his first speech Tuesday as the newly-elected leader of Paraguay that his government will maintain a relationship with Taiwan, which he called "an ally" and "brother."

"Our relationship with the Republic of China Taiwan is an example of this and of Paraguay's friendly and cooperative spirit with nations to which we have great affection and with whom we feel not only allies but also brothers," Pena said in the presence of Taiwanese Vice President William Lai, who arrived in Paraguay to attend Pena´s inauguration.

Pena warned he will continue negotiating with the world "without compromising" the sovereignty, territory, values or culture of his country -- the only one in South America that maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Lai, a frontrunner in Taiwan's upcoming presidential election in January, visited the US on his way to Paraguay, in what has been called a transit stopover.

China said Sunday that Lai was a "troublemaker" after he embarked on his trip.

"China is closely following the development of the situation and will take resolute and forceful measures to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity," said the Foreign Ministry.

Paraguay is one of the only 13 countries that maintain official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which prevents it from having relations with China.

China claims Taiwan as its own but the island has been governed independently since 1949. Beijing has vowed to eventually “unify” Taiwan with the mainland, even if it means it will have to use force.

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