President Tsai Ing-wen (???) of Taiwan and President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras have reaffirmed the ties between the two countries and promised to take the bilateral relationship into a new era.
In Honduras at the start of a four-country tour of Central American, Tsai said on Monday that her visit to Honduras and Hernandez's trip to Taiwan last October represent a "important watershed in our relationship."
"It will develop further from existing friendly diplomatic ties to a steadfast relationship focused on trade and economy that will be mutually beneficial," Tsai said at a joint press conference following talks between the two leaders and several ministers.
"Steadfast" is a new catchword used by the Tsai administration to describe the type of relationship it wants to maintain with Taiwan's allies. In Chinese, the term means "matter-of-fact" and "pragmatic."
Also speaking at the press conference, Hernandez said bilateral ties are set to enter a new phase, in which "a focus on trade" will benefit the people of Taiwan as well as the people of Honduras.
He called Tsai "the most respected, the favorite daughter of Honduras."
During the talks, the two sides discussed cooperation in agriculture, tourism, textiles, agricultural product processing and assistance that Taiwan could provide to Honduras in its development of micro businesses, Hernandez said.
Five highly competitive products, including potatoes, avocados and coffee, could be exported to Taiwan in the near future, he said.
Tsai noted that Hernandez was the first foreign leader to congratulate her after she won the presidential election on Jan. 16 last year.
On the first stop of her four-nation tour in Central America, Tsai said she was deeply impressed with the resilience, prosperity and vitality demonstrated by the Honduran society under Hernandez's leadership.
The two sides have agreed on expanding an existing scholarship program to bring more Honduran students to study in Taiwan and promoting Taiwanese investment in the Central American country, she said.
Earlier in the day, Tsai visited the Basilica de Suyapa, a major Catholic church in Tegucigalpa, accompanied by the Honduran president's mother, Elvira Alvarado, and his sister, Hilda Rosario Hernandez Alvarado.
After the press conference, Tsai and her entourage boarded their chartered plane for the next stop -- Nicaragua.
Tsai left Taiwan on Jan. 7 and is due back on Jan. 15 after also visiting Guatemala and El Salvador.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel