Guatemala balances China trade, Taiwan diplomacy

Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that Arevalo had recently reaffirmed his government’s wish to maintain its diplomatic recognition with Taiwan…reports Asian Lite News

Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday said that the new Guatemalan government’s intention to develop trade ties with China does not conflict with the country’s policy of maintaining diplomatic relations with Taiwan, Focus Taiwan reported citing Central News Agency (CNA).

In a statement, Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the remarks made by Guatemalan Foreign Minister Carlos Ramiro Martinez in an interview regarding trade ties with China did not come as a surprise, CNA reported citing Reuters.

It said that the Guatemalan President Bernardo Arevalo-led government has consistently maintained a policy of maintaining the country’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan while also developing trade ties with China.

Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that Arevalo had recently reaffirmed his government’s wish to maintain its diplomatic recognition with Taiwan when the allied leader met with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu at his inauguration ceremony held on January 14.

Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jaushieh Joseph Wu, attended the inauguration of Guatemalan President Bernardo Arevalo and Vice President Karin Herrera and related events on January 14, according to the statement released by Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It further said that Taiwan will continue to bolster closer cooperation and exchanges with Guatemala under the leadership of Bernardo Arevalo and his new administration to further strengthen bilateral ties.

Carlos Ramiro Martinez said while Guatemala will continue to work with Taiwan “at the levels we have doing,” Arevalo “has pointed out that we cannot ignore the weight and power China represents.”

He said, “We are interested in approaching them to try and develop some relationship around trade,” adding that this could materialise as an “office of trade interests” that would help find a Chinese market for Guatemalan products, Central News Agency reported citing Reuters report.

He said, “We are making it public – this is not an ambush against Taiwan or the United States.” Guatemala’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that Martinez’s latest remarks are consistent with Bernardo Arevalo’s stance.

After his election victory in August, Bernardo Arevalo said he had no intention to modify the status of his country’s diplomatic relations with Taiwan and added that he also wants to improve ties with China.

He said it was “perfectly feasible to have good relations with both the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Taiwan.” At the time, Arevalo said, “Guatemala’s private sector is interested in expanding relations with China, which counts the Central American country as its main trade partner in the region,” CNA reported citing Reuters.

It remains to be seen how Arevalo’s new government will manage to maintain ties with China and Taiwan, considering China sees Taiwan as part of its territory and has made it a precondition for a foreign country to cut diplomatic relations with Taipei before it can have closer ties with Beijing. Notably, Guatemala and Belize are the only nations in Central America to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. (ANI)

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