Taipei-Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (???) will set off Wednesday on a 17-day tour of Central America and the Caribbean to strengthen ties with Taiwan's diplomatic allies in the region.
According to a statement from the Ministry of National Defense, the trip will take Feng to all of Taiwan's Spanish-speaking allies in Central America -- Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador -- as well as to the Dominican Republic.
Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chen Chung-chi (???) said Feng had received invitations from the commanding general of the Nicaraguan Army, Julio Cesar Aviles Castillo, and Guatemalan Defense Minister Williams Mansilla Fernandez to visit their respective countries.
The roughly two-week tour begins on Aug. 23 and will see the minister make a brief stop in New York before heading for Central America. He will transit through Los Angeles on his way home before returning to Taiwan on Sept. 8.
Given the brief duration of Feng's stops in the United States, Chen said no meetings with U.S. officials were arranged.
Taiwan currently has a total of 20 diplomatic allies, with half of them in Central America and the Caribbean.
It most recently lost Panama as an ally when that country switched allegiance to Beijing in mid-June, and it is trying to shore up relations with other countries in the region to avoid further defections.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel