Paraguay the only Mercosur member with no formal diplomatic relations with China-Beijing, --since it only recognizes Taiwan--, is scheduled to open a trade office in Hong Kong (Peoples Republic of China) some time in the next few weeks.
Paraguay and Taiwan have had full diplomatic relations since 1957 and remains the only country in South America with no official links with Beijing. In the early seventies and eighties the rest of South American countries established full diplomatic relations with Beijing and cut links with the Taipei regime.
Taiwan through generous loans and other forms of aid has managed so far to keep Paraguay and a few Central American countries distant from Beijing. However one of the conditions has been that any formal diplomatic links with China means the end of relations (and aid) with Taiwan.
This nevertheless has not impeded Taiwan from having a prosperous trade office in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s industrial and financial hub.
Given this background and the closer relations between Beijing and Taipei, according to sources in Asuncion, Paraguay expects another approach, less peremptory, from Taiwan authorities.
Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo was scheduled to make an official visit to Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia later this month but apparently given the coming opening of the trade office in Hong Kong has cancelled the tour, alleging “agenda problems” and his poor health (Hodgkin’s disease).
This however has not impeded President Lugo from confirming his participation in the coming South America-Arab countries summit scheduled for February 16 in Lima, Peru.