Taiwan hopes for continuity
PANAMA. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou sent a message to Panama's President-elect Ricardo Martinelli soon after the latter won the pr...
PANAMA. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou sent a message to Panama's President-elect Ricardo Martinelli soon after the latter won the presidential election Sunday, while its ambassador in Panama said he believes Martinelli's election will not lead to major changes in bilateral relations, reported The China Post, Taiwan’s leading English-language newspaper.
According to the Post, Ma delivered his congratulations and expressed willingness to continue promoting relations between the two countries following Martinelli's inauguration.
Ma faxed his congratulatory letter to the embassy and instructed that it be hand-delivered to the president-elect.
The Taiwanese President described Martinelli's victory as representing the Panamanian people's support and their hope for change in Panama, which he promised during his election campaign.
Ma praised Martinelli's political platforms as having great vision, saying he believes Panama will make progress and will prosper under Martinelli's leadership. He also expressed hope for closer friendship between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the Taiwanese Ambassador to Panama Simon S.Y. Ko said he expects Taiwan-Panama relations will not undergo a big change under the new government.
The embassy has always kept links with every political party, especially those that could possibly assume power, Ko said, referring to Martinelli's party.
As a result, "our cooperation with the Panamanian government will continue," he said.
"As a diplomatic ally, we are delighted to cooperate on practicable projects," he said.
Taiwan donated $5 million to Panama in March to help the country renovate a highway and construct a tap water supply system.
Panama is one of 23 countries that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan. According to analysts, Central America has become a real chessboard for Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China, which are battling for diplomatic support and recognition.
Taiwan has maintained support in Latin America based largely on financial assistance, an area where Beijing could have little trouble outbidding Taiwan, as seen by Costa Rica’s decision to break off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 2007 in order to re-establish them with China.
Taiwanese President Ma plans to visit Latin America at the end of this month.