President arrives in St. Lucia on state visit
CNACASTRIES, St. Lucia -- Republic of China President Ma Ying-jeou arrived in St. Lucia late Thursday on an official visit.
August 17, 2013, 12:04 am TWN
Ma was given a red-carpet welcome with full military honors upon arrival in Castries, capital of the Caribbean country.
Many Taiwanese expatriates in St. Lucia also turned out to greet Ma and his entourage.
Ma arrived in Castries from Paraguay where he attended the inauguration of new Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes and Vice President Juan Afara.
Cartes, 57, took the oath of office in the gardens of the presidential palace.
In his inaugural address, Cartes pledged a “war on poverty” in a country where 39 percent of its people live in poverty.
Touching on relations with Taiwan, the multimillionaire-turned-president vowed to further strengthen bilateral ties and expand cooperation in diversified ways and fields.
President Ma was seated with heads of state of other countries, including Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez.
Ma shook hands and exchanged greetings with his foreign counterparts. He chatted with Rousseff on what was their second encounter. They first met at the inaugural mass of Pope Francis in the Vatican in March.
When the emcee of the inaugural ceremony mentioned Ma's name, the president responded by waving his hand. Many Paraguayan people attending the ceremony also cheered for him.
Paraguayan people are very friendly toward Taiwan. When Taiwanese reporters covering Ma's current diplomatic tour arrived at the inaugural ceremony venue, Paraguayan people shouted “Taiwan” and “Go Go Taiwan,” in welcome.
After the inaugural ceremony, Ma entered the presidential palace where Asuncion Mayor Arnaldo Samaniego presented him with the Key to Asuncion as a token of friendship.
Ma also attended a presidential inaugural mass at the Cathedral of Asuncion and a state luncheon at President Cartes's residence before concluding his visit in Paraguay.
Ma started his current five nation diplomatic tour Aug. 11, visiting Haiti after a transit stop in New York.
After his St. Lucia visit, he will travel to two other Caribbean allies -- Saint Christopher and Nevis as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines.