Tsai holds talks with Paraguay president in Taipei

President Tsai Ing-wen (right) meets with Paraguay President Horacio Cartes at the Office of the President July 12 in Taipei City. (CNA)

President Tsai Ing-wen met with Paraguay President Horacio Cartes at the Office of the President July 12 in Taipei City, holding talks marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the South American nation.

The president welcomed Cartes, who is on a three-day state visit, with a military salute ceremony before the heads of state witnessed the signing of an economic cooperation accord and a mutual recognition agreement.

According to Tsai, over the past six decades the allies have maintained close ties in areas spanning economics, trade, culture and education. The two accords will build upon these accumulated achievements by deepening collaboration, she said, adding that the pacts will also help businesses in their respective nations tap opportunities in the Asian and South American markets.

The president stated that the strong bilateral ties incorporate the principles of steadfast diplomacy, which advances mutual assistance for mutual benefits. In line with this approach, she announced that in response to the recent administrative order signed by Cartes offering ROC passport holders visa-free entry to Paraguay, nationals of the South American country will, effective immediately, enjoy reciprocal visa-free treatment in Taiwan for stays of up to 90 days.

These measures will expand people-to-people exchanges, offering tangible benefits to both sides, Tsai said. She also expressed gratitude for Paraguay's continued support in backing Taiwan's international participation.

In response, Cartes said that the robust relations between the ROC and Paraguay are built on the common values of democracy, freedom and human rights, and that Paraguay will continue to support Taiwan's participation in international organizations.

The two accords mark a new stage in the development of bilateral ties, he said, adding that they will foster business links and supply chain integration between enterprises in the two nations while facilitating the expansion of cultural and tourism exchanges.

Cartes and his delegation of officials and lawmakers arrived July 11, attending a welcoming banquet hosted by Tsai at Taipei Guest House. Following the talks at the Office of the President, the delegation will visit National Taiwan University of Arts for an art exhibition and dance ceremony.

On July 13, the group will tour the Asia's New Bay Area and high-tech enterprises in the southern cities of Kaohsiung and Tainan, respectively, before returning to Taipei for a state dinner.