Paraguay is willing to trade with China but without allowing itself to be pressured to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan, outgoing President Mario Abdo Benitez told the Qatar Economic Forum on Wednesday.
Abdo Benitez explained that his successor, President-elect Santiago Peña, pledged to maintain the six-decade-old relations between Paraguay and Taiwan.
China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has undermined the island’s Latin American supporters.
Paraguay is the last South American nation to maintain ties with the island.
Honduras, the last Central American country to continue recognizing Taiwan’s government, broke off relations in March.
At the Doha Forum, Abdo Benítez claimed the empowerment of Paraguay’s “strategic alliance” with Taiwan since 2018.
“Before, there was only cooperation between Paraguay and Taiwan. Now we have changed the strategy,” and trade quintupled.
If this continues, “we can have enough arguments to defend our strategic alliance,” he said.
“We are not against doing business with anyone, but we believe that our diplomatic relations should remain firm with Taiwan,” the outgoing Paraguayan head of state insisted.
Abdo Benítez pointed out that Paraguay could take advantage of any Mercosur trade agreement reached with China.
“It’s not that Paraguay doesn’t want to do business with someone; it’s the other party that doesn’t want to do business unless we change our diplomatic status.”
“If we can use Mercosur to open our market, we have no problem doing so,” he concluded.
With information from Hoy
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