By Fatima Romero
Guatemala is one of 13 countries recognizing Taiwan’s sovereignty, a list that has shrunk in recent years as Beijing moves to isolate Taipei.
Before leaving Guatemala, Giammattei shared a video on Twitter describing the trip to Taiwan as a clear message to the world that countries have the right to govern themselves and that their territories are not threatened.
He also said the visit would strengthen “ties and brotherhood between the two countries.”
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited Guatemala and Belize in early April, also meeting in the United States with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
In response, China conducted three-day military exercises simulating targeted attacks and an island blockade.
CHINA’S REACTION TO GIAMMATTEI’S VISIT
In a press conference, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Mao Ning, expressed her rejection of the visit of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to Taiwan.
The official added that some Guatemalan politicians said it is inconceivable that their country does not have diplomatic relations with China since the vast majority of countries in the world recognize Taiwan as part of China.
“His insightful words show that upholding the one-China principle is the right thing to do.”
Mao added that China is Guatemala’s second-largest source of imports and the fifth-largest export destination.
“The recognition of the one-China principle and the growth of relations with China serve Guatemala’s fundamental interest and meet the aspirations of the Guatemalan people.”
In response, Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jeff Liu said the autonomous island has every right to exchange with other countries.
“The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a responsible member of the international community and a sovereign country, so exchanges and contacts with other countries are a matter of course.”
“It is our country’s fundamental right to strengthen exchanges with diplomatic allies and like-minded countries,” Liu said.
Giammattei is accompanied by the President of Congress, Shirley Joanna Rivera Zaldaña; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mario Adolfo Búcaro Flores; the Minister of Finance, Edwin Oswaldo Martínez Cameros; the Minister of Agriculture, Edgar René de León Moreno, and the Minister of Economy, Janio Moacyr Rosales Alegría.
With information from Bloomberg