Taiwan president visits Guatemala, reaffirms ties amid pressure from China
President Tsai visited Guatemala for three days over the weekend, where she met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss the ties between the two countries
April 3, 2023 8:07am
Updated: April 3, 2023 9:13am
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited Guatemala on Saturday, reaffirming the island’s diplomatic ties to one of its remaining allies in Central America despite pressure from China.
President Tsai visited Guatemala for three days over the weekend, where she met with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei to discuss the ties between the two countries. On Sunday, the two presidents toured the Mayan archeological site in Tikal, one of the most important cities of the ancient civilization.
Giammattei thanked Taiwan for its economic support, adding that Guatemala’s relationship with Taipei was “unchangeable.”
"This visit in which we strengthened our ties of friendship will stay in our hearts," Giammattei said.
Honored to accompany @DrGiammattei to #Guatemala’s Tikal National Park, a #WorldHeritageSite, to appreciate the architecture & culture of the ancient Mayans. The view from the top of Temple II is an awe-inspiring reminder to us all to protect our cultural & natural heritages. pic.twitter.com/dP82TB47pM— 蔡英文 Tsai Ing-wen (@iingwen) April 2, 2023
Tsai also visited a hospital in the Guatemalan region of Chimaltenango, built with Taipei’s support. According to the president, the $22 million investment in the hospital “will be able to provide better medical care and service” to the area’s residents.
"From now on, Taiwan and Guatemala will continue to show solidarity to each other, deepening cooperation in all possible areas based on firm objectives, solidarity, and mutual benefit," Tsai said during a tour of the hospital.
Llegamos al último día de la #VisitaTaiwánGT de la presidenta @iingwen en el Hospital Nacional de Chimaltenango, producto de la cooperación de la República de China (Taiwán). Vivimos tres días de fructífero trabajo en los que consolidamos los profundos lazos de amistad. 🇬🇹🇹🇼 pic.twitter.com/oFfmx91BrX— Alejandro Giammattei (@DrGiammattei) April 2, 2023
The visit comes after Honduras announced it was breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establishing a relationship with China. China and Taiwan have been fighting over influence in Latin America since 1949, with China claiming that Taiwan is part of its territory. Beijing does not allow for a country to maintain relationships with both Taiwan and China at the same time, making countries choose to support only one of them.
Honduras is the latest country to switch its recognition to China, following the footsteps of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Taiwan currently has only 13 official diplomatic partners, half of which are small countries in Latin America and the Caribbean: Guatemala, Belize, Haiti, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the Grenadines.
Tsai also plans to visit Belize to meet with Prime Minister John Briceno on Monday on her trip to Central America. On her way back to Taiwan, she is expected to meet with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.