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Diplomat to represent Taiwan at Honduras presidential inauguration

2018/01/10 21:41:32

CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) Taiwan will be represented at the Honduras' presidential inauguration ceremony on Jan. 27 by its ambassador to that country and not by its vice president as previously announced, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Wednesday.

In a statement, the ministry said the change was made after Honduras confirmed that the foreign representatives invited to the inauguration of its President Juan Orlando Hernandez were ambassadors only.

"The Taiwan government respects and understands its ally's decision and will be represented at the inauguration ceremony by Ambassador to Honduras Ingrid Hsing (邢瀛輝)," MOFA said.

The ministry had announced on Jan. 4 that Vice President Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) would attend the Jan. 27 inauguration of Hernandez, who was elected last November to a second term as president in a close race.

Asked about Honduras' decision regarding the invited foreign representatives, its Ambassador to Taiwan Rafael Fernando Sierra Quesada told CNA that in light of the current divisions in his country after the close election, the inauguration ceremony will be low-keyed.

"It is the same president so we will not make a big event," he said. "We will just have something small where Honduran people can start a dialogue to understand each other."

Sierra said the decision does not imply strained diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Honduras.

"This doesn't mean the relationship between our countries is not okay," he said. "The relationship is very strong."

Citing examples of the ongoing firm bilateral relations, Sierra said the first shipment of Honduran sweet melon will arrive in Taiwan next month, while a group of Taiwanese businessmen will visit Honduras in March to discuss other cooperation projects.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was one the first world leaders to congratulate Hernandez on his re-election, doing so via a video conference call on Dec. 27, about a week after he was declared the winner.

The final results showed Hernandez winning with 42.95 percent of the vote, while his opponent Salvador Nasralla gained 41.42 percent, foreign media reported, citing Honduran election officials.

When Hernandez was declared the winner after three weeks of vote counting, protests erupted and more than 30 people were killed in police operations, and another 800 were arrested, the reports said, citing human rights groups.

(By Joseph Yeh)