Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli has accepted the credentials of Taiwan's ambassador to the country seven months after the diplomat was posted there, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.
Martinelli received Ambassador Diego Chou on July 23 and accepted the diplomat's letter of credentials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement.
Chou was accompanied by Panama's Acting Foreign Minister Francisco Alvarez de Soto, the MOFA said.
Martnelli and Chou discussed issues relating to bilateral cooperation, particularly in the fields of trade, tourism and technology, the MOFA said. The president expressed the hope that relations between the two countries will move forward on the basis of their existing ties, the ministry added.
Chou arrived in Panama to take up in his new post in January but was not able to present his credentials to Martinelli until July 23.
The MOFA said the delay was caused by Martinelli's misunderstanding of a meeting in January between Foreign Affairs Minister Timothy Yang and Panamanian Vice President Juan Carlos Varela Rodriguez, Martinelli's rival and the leader an opposition party.
Yang was accused of meddling in Panama's internal politics, the ministry said.
The misunderstanding was cleared up through the MOFA's persistent negotiations with the Panamanian side and its reassurance that Taiwan seeks international cooperation only through "just purpose, legal procedures and effective execution," the ministry said.
Taiwan's friendship with Panama is based on the principles of trust and mutual benefits, the MOFA said.
The ministry said it will continue to pursue collaborative and aid projects in Panama on the basis of reciprocal treatment and dignity.
Panama is one of the 23 countries worldwide that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
(By Emmanuelle Tzeng and Elizabeth Hsu)