Foreign ministry congratulates Taiwan-friendly Guatemala president-elect

Alejandro Giammattei announced his victory on Aug. 12

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Guatemala president-elect Alejandro Giammattei (Source: AP)

Guatemala president-elect Alejandro Giammattei (Source: AP)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s embassy in Guatemala has extended congratulations to president-elect Alejandro Giammattei, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

The 63-year-old president-elect of the conservative Vamos party announced his victory in the key election on Monday (August 12), garnering 58.26 percent of the support after 98 percent of votes had been counted. He defeated former First Lady Sandra Torres of the centrist party National Unity of Hope.

Taiwan’s ambassador to Guatemala, John Lai (賴建中), has sent a congratulations letter signed by both President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) to Giammattei, said MOFA Spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) on Monday. Giammattei and Vice President-elect César Guillermo Castillo have long been good friends of Taiwan, and they have expressed gratitude for the close cooperation between the two countries, she said.

Guatemala is Taiwan’s important ally in Central America, said Ou. She added that Taiwan’s government looks forward to deepening bilateral ties in a variety of areas based on the existing partnership.

Guatemala is one of the allies that China wants to poach from Taiwan in a campaign to isolate the island nation. However, the Central American nation reportedly rejected an offer from China earlier this year, according to U.S. Senator Cory Gardner.

Taiwan established formal relations with Guatemala over eight decades ago. The Guatemalan government assigned a new ambassador to Taiwan, Willy Gómez, in July.