Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez said his country needs $1 billion in investment from Taiwan to help the Paraguayan government resist pressure to switch diplomatic recognition to China.
Benitez said in an interview: financial times On September 29, his government will work with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen to ensure that Paraguayans “feel the true benefits of a strategic alliance.”
“Countries that do not have diplomatic ties with Taiwan have more than $6 billion in Taiwanese investment, and we want to invest $1 billion in Paraguay,” he said in an interview.
Benitez said the $1 billion investment will help the government “build the argument” on the importance of maintaining alliances with the autonomous islands.
China claims Taiwan as part of its territory even though Taiwan is a sovereign state with a democratically elected government.that’s all 14 countriesIncluding Paraguay has formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
However, Benitez said the Paraguay-Taiwan alliance has resulted in a lack of access to the Chinese market, unsettling local agricultural producers.
“Imagine what the producers will say when the price of meat drops and they have no access to China,” he said. We must open up to the Chinese market.If Taiwan is a country that can sell all its soybean and meat production to China, what will Taiwan give us?”
“No Rewards” in Bilateral Relations
Paraguayan Foreign Minister Julio Cesar Arriola later clarified that the relationship between Paraguay and Taiwan was not subject to “rewards” or conditions, but was based on shared values, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Ministry spokesperson Joanne Ou said Arriola explained to Taiwan’s ambassador to Paraguay that Benitzer was only encouraging Taiwan to invest in Paraguay in an interview. Taipei Times report.
According to a study published in foreign policy analysis Last year, Taiwan invested an average of $4 million annually in Paraguay from 2005 to 2014 and provided an average of $14.8 million in aid.
The study was authored by Tom Long, associate professor at the University of Warwick and Francisco Urdinez, associate professor at the Institute of Political Science.
“Paraguay does not receive any aid, investment or finance from China, but the regional average for countries with diplomatic relations with China accounts for 1% of GDP annually, which is a notable difference,” it said. increase.
“Economic gains from Taiwan do not make up for these losses. Taiwan is a minor trading partner for Paraguay, both in absolute terms and compared to China. accounted for 0.33% of the total,” said the study.
China has in recent years persuaded Taiwan’s allies such as Nicaragua, the Solomon Islands, Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic to switch allegiance in hopes of increased trade and investment.