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Ma meets Paraguayan Chamber of Deputies chief

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that although Paraguay is the R.O.C.'s farthest diplomatic ally, the friendship between the people of Taiwan and Paraguay is strong.

Ma yesterday received a delegation led by President of Paraguayan Chamber of Deputies Juan Bartolome Ramirez Brizuela at the Presidential Office.

In addition to welcoming the delegation, the president also expressed the hope that Taiwan and Paraguay can continue to strengthen their cooperative relations.

Ma pointed out that Ramirez had visited Taiwan in 2003 and 2005, and that the congressman's son had also come to Taiwan to learn Mandarin Chinese.

When Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) visited Paraguay in January, Ramirez especially organized a welcoming event, showing the deep sense of friendship that he has for Taiwan, the president added.

The democratic development of Paraguay has reached a mature stage, Ma said, pointing out that the Paraguayan delegation comprised members of the Colorado Party as well as the Liberal Party.

Ma said that when he arrived at Paraguay's international airport last year to attend then-President-elect Horacio Cartes' inauguration, then-President Luis Federico Franco Gomez went to the airport personally to meet him despite temperatures being only 6 degrees Celsius.

Ma said that he and Cartes spoke about several bilateral projects.

Paraguay has an abundance of natural resources, and its hydropower infrastructure is currently 60-percent developed, giving the country relatively inexpensive electricity, the president pointed out.

The Paraguayan Chamber of Deputies resolved in April 2012 to support Taiwan's participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Ma said, expressing his gratitude to the lower house's support.

Taiwan's participation in the ICAO event in Montreal can be described as a realization of that resolution, Ma said.

The president went on to say that in order to solve Taiwan's fishery and enforcement disputes with Japan and the Philippines, he proposed the East China Sea Peace Initiative, which was unanimously passed and supported by the Chamber of Deputies.

The R.O.C. is a peace-loving nation and an active provider of humanitarian aid, Ma said.

Despite the fact that a local fisherman had been shot dead by Philippine coastguardsmen in May last year, Taiwan was the fastest country to send aid to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in November, dispatching aircraft with 680 tons of supplies, the president explained.

 Paraguay is currently drawing up a public housing plan, and Taiwan is willing to share its experiences in order to strengthen the two countries' bond, Ma said.

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