TAIPEI – Guatemalan President Oscar Berger and his Taiwanese counterpart, Chen Shui-bian, signed cooperation agreements June 21 that will provide tens of millions of dollars to the Central American nation.
Taiwan agreed to donate $40 million for the repair and expansion of a highway and another $10 million for improvements to Guatemala’s prison system.
The Asian country also promised to provide up to 25 new scholarships annually for Guatemalans interested in post-graduate studies at Taiwanese universities in fields such as business and engineering.
Guatemala renewed its backing for Taiwan’s efforts to join international organizations and commitment to bilateral ties based on “mutual assistance and the common defense of democracy and freedom.”
“Guatemala is a true friend because it provides support at difficult times,” Chen said during his meeting with Berger, referring to Costa Rica’s decision earlier this month to cut ties with Taipei in favor of establishing diplomatic relations with China (TT, June 8).
Berger also met with executives of petrochemical giant Formosa Plastics to discuss investment in an oil refinery in Guatemala.
Half of the 24 nations that maintain diplomatic links with Taiwan are located in Latin America and the Caribbean.