TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — President Mario Abdo Benítez of Paraguay has rejected Chinese pressure to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan, the Latin American country’s ambassador in Taipei told a newly formed group of lawmakers Tuesday (July 21).
Out of the 15 official diplomatic allies Taiwan has left, landlocked Paraguay is the only one in South America, but it has been facing increasing pressure both domestically and abroad to end the 63-year relationship.
Ambassador Marcial Bobadilla Guillén visited the Legislative Yuan Tuesday to attend the launch of a Taiwan-Paraguay friendship association formed by 23 lawmakers, most of them members of the Kuomintang (KMT).
The envoy emphasized that President Benítez had publicly stated that as Taiwan was the country’s only real friend, he had turned down attempts from Beijing to convince it to switch recognition.
The pressure included calls by business interests within Paraguay to open ties with China, CNA reported. The South American country is home to a significant beef sector, which sees China as a major potential market for its exports.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said at the ceremony Tuesday that Taiwan would import 20,000 tons of beef from Paraguay this year, showing that the country is more than just a name on a map. The ministry also thanked the ally for its frequent assistance at international organizations.