US Secretary lauds Paraguay’s diplomatic recognition of Taiwan

Mike Pompeo also expressed concerns over China’s growing presence in the region

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) smiles for a picture with Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right) smiles for a picture with Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benitez (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In a speech delivered in Paraguay’s capital of Asuncion on Saturday (April 13), U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo voiced his support for the country for maintaining warm ties with Taiwan.

Pompeo made the comments in reference to a number of Central American countries that have severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan over the past few years in favor of China. The secretary of state was speaking at a stop on his Latin American tour.

During a meeting, Pompeo and President Abdo Benitez of Paraguay discussed the country’s continued efforts to strengthen its relationship with Taiwan. This emphasized the importance of “maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait, including diplomatic recognition,” according to the U.S. State Department.

Paraguay is the only South American ally of Taiwan, which is currently recognized by 17 nations in the world. Panama broke ties with Taiwan in 2017, while Taiwan lost two more allies – the Dominican Republic and El Salvador – in the following year.

Amidst ramped up campaigns by China to extend its political and economic clout in Latin America, Pompeo also sought to affirm a commitment to the vibrant partnership between the U.S. and Paraguay during this trip.

The leaders underscored the importance of joint efforts to promote prosperity, security, and democracy across the region. Pompeo also recognized Paraguay’s strong commitment to increase transparency and fight corruption, said the State Department.

It is the second leg of the top U.S. official’s diplomatic tour starting April 11, which involves visits to Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Colombia.