Taiwan 'perplexed' by Paraguay candidate questioning of ties

Relations with Taiwan have made it hard to sell soy, beef to China
calendar icon 20 April 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Taiwan said on Thursday it was perplexed by Paraguay's main opposition presidential candidate questioning the benefits of keeping relations with Taipei, just a month after Beijing prised away its ties with another Latin American country, Reuters reported

Efrain Alegre, who leads the centre-left Concertacion Nacional coalition, is seen neck-and-neck in opinion polls with ruling party candidate Santiago Pena in the election at the end of the month.

Alegre has criticised Paraguay's current diplomatic relations with Taiwan going back over 60 years, which have made it hard to sell soy and beef to China, a major global buyer, and has said Paraguay does not benefit enough from its Taiwan ties.

Speaking to reporters in Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Alegre's public comments "certainly have caused some perplexity".

"But our colleagues in Paraguay have very close ties with the political parties, the camps and the candidates," he added.

"Paraguay has had a long-standing relationship with us, and this relationship is also very stable. We will do our best to maintain diplomatic relations with Paraguay."

Paraguay is one of only 13 countries to maintain formal diplomatic ties with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, and China has been stepping up efforts to win over the island's remaining allies.

Honduras severed ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing last month.

China has long argued that democratically ruled Taiwan is part of its own territory with no right to state-to-state ties, a position Taipei strongly rejects.

China demands that countries it has ties with must adopt its position that Taiwan is Chinese territory.

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