TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳昭燮) will leave Thursday on a five-day visit to Central American allies El Salvador and Belize, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
Taiwan has been facing a diplomatic offensive from China, which has taken away four of its official allies over the past few years, including Panama and the Dominican Republic in the region. Taiwan has only 18 allies left, most of them in Latin American, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Wu’s trip was designed to relate President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) interest in friendship and bilateral cooperation to the leaders of the two countries, the Central News Agency quoted MOFA as saying.
In El Salvador from July 12 through 15, Wu would meet President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and Vice President Oscar Ortiz as well as visit the head of its Legislature and its acting foreign minister, CNA reported.
Taiwan’s foreign minister will hand a letter from Tsai to the president in which she expresses her best wishes for the declaration of Archbishop Oscar Romero as a saint in Rome next October. The cleric was shot dead by a sniper in 1980, widely believed to be an act to stop him from speaking out on behalf of the poor.
During his stay in El Salvador, Wu will also meet Vinicio Cerezo, the secretary general of the Central American Integration System (SICA) to discuss cooperation projects, MOFA said.
In Belize on July 16 and 17, Taiwan’s top diplomat will meet Prime Minister Dean Barrow and visit the Taiwanese embassy, according to CNA.