Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) Visiting Taiwan for the first time under his capacity as president of Paraguay is like "homecoming" due to his family's close ties with the country, President Mario Abdo Benitez said Monday.
During a military salute ceremony at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei hosted by President Tsai Ing-wen , Abdo said this is not his first time to visit Taiwan but his first trip as leader of his country.
He praised Taiwan's insistence on democracy, peace and human rights. These shared values have also closely bonded Taiwan and Paraguay for decades since the two countries established ties 61 years ago.
Paraguay will continue to support Taiwan on the international stage, especially on its rights to participate in United Nations events and other international organizations.
Paraguay government hopes to elevate bilateral relations to "the next level" to develop a mutually beneficial relationship that will improve the lives of Taiwanese and Paraguayan people, he added.
Abdo said that Paraguay's economy has grown at a rate of at least 4.5 percent each year for the last 20 years, and that his country has an excellent economic and investment environment.
He called on Taiwan to use Paraguay as a base of operations to enter the Latin American market.
"We hope that Taiwan can understand that at the heart of South America, Paraguay will also be Taiwan's brother and closest ally. Our hearts beat together," he concluded.
Abdo's remarks were made during a ceremony hosted by Tsai to welcome the leader of Taiwan's only diplomatic ally in South America, in which he received a 21-gun salute.