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Ma invited to join inauguration of Honduras' new head: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Honduran president-elect Juan Orlando Hernandez has invited President Ma Ying-jeou to attend his inauguration in January, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

MOFA is currently making overall evaluations on Ma's possible visit to the Central American ally to participate in the ceremony, Deputy Foreign Minister Joseph Shih (石定) told local media yesterday.

“We will make public more details about the possible visit when the time is ripe,” Shih said.

Ma has previously issued a congratulatory message to the president-elect after the ruling party candidate won the election in late November, according to MOFA.

R.O.C. Ambassador to Honduras Joseph Kuo (郭永樑) met with Hernandez following his win in the Central American country's presidential election on Nov. 24 to convey Ma's congratulations on his electoral success, MOFA added.

The Honduran presidential inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 27.

Shih made the comments on the sideline before fielding questions during yesterday's question-and-answer session in the Legislature's Foreign and National Defense Committee.

During the session, opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) called on Ma not to attend the inauguration ceremony of the new Honduran leader if the latter hopes to take this opportunity to ask for more financial aid from Taiwan.

The Honduras government has previously said it will open a trade office in China soon as a step toward establishing full diplomatic relations, Tsai said.

No More Money Diplomacy: Lawmaker

The DPP lawmaker said Ma should be on high alert that the ally could take this opportunity to ask for more money.

“Spending more money on an ally will not secure diplomatic ties,” he noted.

In response, Shih reiterated the government's stand that any foreign aid must be justifiable and should be provided lawfully and efficiently.

MOFA said earlier that the Central American ally's move to open a trade office on the other side of the Taiwan Strait does not mean it is going to sever official ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing.

Taiwan lost its African ally The Gambia last month. According to Samuel Chen (陳士良), the nation's former ambassador to The Gambia, the R.O.C. government's rejection of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's request for financial aid was the main reason the African nation severed ties with Taiwan.

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