Taiwan is concerned about Paraguay's intention to recognize China

Taipei Taiwan is concerned about Paraguay's intention to recognize China after Paraguayan Foreign Minister Alejandro Hamed said that Asuncion will make a decision on diplomatic relations within months, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

According to the Liberty Times, Hamed said Tuesday in Brazil that Paraguay's new government has begun a new era for the South American nation's diplomacy, and one of its goals is to launch full relations with China.

"The new government will make a decision on this issue within a few months," the Liberty Times quoted Hamed as saying in Brazil's capital Brasilia, where he is preparing for President Fernando Lugo's visit to Brazil starting September 17.

Taiwan's representative office in Brazil has reported Hamed's remarks to Taiwan's Foreign Ministry, the daily said.

When the Liberty Times asked Foreign Ministry spokesman Chen Ming-cheng about Hamed's statement, Chen said that when President Ma Ying-jeou attended Lugo's August 16 inauguration, Lugo assured Ma that Asuncion-Taipei ties were solid.

"Of course, we trust President Lugo's promise. Our embassy (in Asuncion) has made several contacts with the Paraguayan government, and (Paraguayan officials) also told us that bilateral ties are firm," the Liberty Times quoted Chen as saying.

The daily said that the foreign ministry, while believing Taiwan- Paraguay ties are stable, will pay close attention to possible changes in Taipei-Asuncion ties.

Paraguay is one of the 23 countries that recognize Taiwan, while 171 countries recognize China and see Taiwan as Beijing's breakaway province.

China has been wooing Taiwan's diplomatic allies to drop Taipei and recognize Beijing. But after Ma Ying-jeou from the China-friendly Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) took office on May 20, he has proposed diplomatic truce so that Taipei and Beijing stop wooing each other's diplomatic ties with cash and aid.

China has not openly commented on Ma's proposal, but some Chinese officials hinted that even if China stops wooing Taiwan's allies, some of Taiwan's allies may seek to launch ties with China as China's power grows, and Beijing cannot stop them from doing that.

In the three months since Ma's inauguration, China has not opened ties with any of Taiwan's diplomatic allies. (dpa)

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