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Panama first lady eager to learn about social welfare in Taiwan: MOFA

Panama first lady eager to learn about social welfare in Taiwan: MOFA

Taipei, Oct. 9 (CNA) Panama's first lady Lorena Isabel Castillo de Varela is seeking to learn more about Taiwan's social welfare programs during her six-day visit here for the National Day celebrations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday. In line with her interests, Castillo de Varela on Thursday was accompanied by Taiwan's first lady Chow Mei-ching on a visit to a care center for the elderly and will also pay a visit to the Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation, both in Taipei, the ministry said. "Panama's first lady is dedicated to caring for the impoverished, the elderly and children and has set up an office to help those groups," Antonio Yeh, counselor in the ministry's Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said at a news briefing. "She therefore wanted to see how welfare facilities here are run and to learn from the Taiwan experience," Yeh added. Meanwhile, on behalf of her husband, Castillo de Varela will offer congratulations to the Republic of China on its 103rd birthday Friday, Yeh said. She will attend the National Day celebrations outside the Presidential Office on Friday morning and a reception later in the day, according to the ministry. Her visit, which began Wednesday, follows a trip to Panama by President Ma Ying-jeou for the inauguration of President Juan Carlos Varela in July. In response to questions about why the Panamanian president is not in Taiwan for the National Day celebrations, Yeh said there are domestic affairs that the new president must deal with and he cannot travel overseas at this time. Varela has promised, however, to visit Taiwan in the future, Yeh said, adding that both countries will discuss the best time for the trip. There have been rumors recently that Panama may switch its diplomatic allegiance to China amid growing economic ties between the two countries. But Taiwan's Foreign Ministry has sought to quash the speculations, saying "bilateral diplomatic relations remain solid." (By Elaine Hou)


Updated : 2021-04-23 07:51 GMT+08:00