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Legislative friendship groups for Latin America and Africa formed
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Photo courtesy of DPP legislator Chiu Chih-wei

Taipei, June 29 (CNA) Two legislative friendship groups aimed at building relations between Taiwanese legislators and those in Latin America and Africa were established on Monday.

Ambassadors or chargé d'affaires from nine of Taiwan's 10 diplomatic allies, along with Seraki Matsebe, South Africa's representative to Taiwan, attended the launch ceremony held in the Legislative Yuan.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chiu Chih-wei, who led the initiative, said more than 30 Taiwanese legislators have joined the Taiwan-Central and South America friendship group and 46 have joined the Taiwan-Africa friendship group.

Chiu urged members of the groups to help enhance Taiwan's interactions with the two regions in several areas, including legislative diplomacy, business, trade, culture and education.

He also hoped that legislators in the two regions can support Taiwan's bid to participate in international organizations and treaties, such as the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

William Tapia, Nicaragua's ambassador to Taiwan and dean of the diplomatic corps, believed the founding of the friendship groups can enhance Taiwan's exchanges with Central and South America and Africa.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Vice Foreign Minister Miguel Li-jey Tsao thanked the Legislative Yuan for assisting the government in deepening Taiwan's relations with other countries through "legislative diplomacy."

Tsao stressed the need for Taiwan to develop closer relations with Central and South America as well as African countries as these regions encompass around 90 countries and account for about 24 percent of the world's population.

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