ROC, El Salvador forge closer parliamentary ties

A memorandum of understanding on strengthening parliamentary cooperation was inked by Legislative Yuan President Su Jia-chyuan and his Salvadoran counterpart Guillermo Antonio Gallegos Navarrete March 21 in Taipei City, paving the way for expanded, regular exchanges on issues of mutual concern between the lawmaking bodies of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and its Central American diplomatic ally El Salvador.

The pact, which was concluded during a tour of the Legislative Yuan by Gallegos and his nine-member delegation in country March 21-25 on an official visit, also stipulates that the two parliaments should work together to strengthen ROC-El Salvador relations across all areas on the principles of mutual benefits, sovereign equality and transparency. In 1992, the two sides forged a parliamentary friendship agreement and the Salvadoran parliament established its Taiwan-Salvador friendship group in 2014.

Su, who was joined by Premier Lin Chuan and the Cabinet in welcoming Gallegos, praised the president of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador for improving the body's efficiency and transparency since taking office in November 2016. Under the leadership of Gallegos, it is expected the assembly will give its full support to Taiwan's efforts seeking greater participation in the international arena, he said.

According to Su, El Salvador's public support for Taiwan and its participation in such U.N. system organizations and entities as the International Civil Aviation Organization and U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is deeply appreciated by the ROC government and the people. It is hoped the Salvadoran government can continue backing Taiwan so it can better share its experiences as a developing democracy, as well as its economic and technology achievements, with the rest of the world, Su said.

In response, Gallegos said although the delegation's members represent different political parties, they share a common belief that the ROC is El Salvador's most staunch ally. Taiwan is always the first country to extend a helping hand in times of need, he added.

The ROC and El Salvador established diplomatic relations 76 years ago. In 2008, the two nations concluded a free trade agreement under which bilateral trade grew to nearly US$144 million last year.

President Tsai Ing-wen visited El Salvador in January on the final leg of her nine-day tour of four ROC Central American diplomatic allies, including Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala in that order. She met with El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren and said she anticipated the two nations jointly developing more plans and projects en route to expanding cultural, economic and people-to-people exchanges.

Source: Taiwan Today