China has proposed to Paraguay a gradual process of rapprochement with special emphasis in trade and cultural fields at a first stage, revealed Paraguay’s Foreign Affairs minister Hector Lacognata.
Paraguay is the only South American that has no diplomatic relations with Beijing since it has maintained loyal to Taiwan. All Mercosur members have long established relations with China which has rapidly become one of the block’s main trade partners.
“There’s great interest from Beijing to begin a link process with Paraguay and its was them who proposed a gradual rapprochement in trade and culture issues”, said Lacognata who in mid January held a meeting with Beijing’s Foreign Affairs minister Yang Jiechi at the Tokyo meeting of the Southeast Asia-Latinamerica cooperation forum.
Lacognata revealed that Paraguay is prepared to advance in the proposal and a meeting has been scheduled for May 12 with Yang Jiechi, at the Shanghai Expo 2010. Precisely that day the expo organizers have dedicated it to Paraguay.
“Hopefully before the end of the year we should have a Beijing trade office in Asunción and begin with plans for the future” added Lacognata who said a first target is to have a legation both in Asuncion and in Shanghai.
“In the same meeting the Chinese minister told us not to feel uncomfortable about links with Taiwan since Beijing is in a process, --very softly—of conversations leading to reunification”, said Lacognata.
Apparently Beijing is encouraged by the fact that in Taiwan the so called Komitang party has been in office since 2008.