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Paraguayan Senate president visits Taiwan

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President of the Paraguayan Senate Silvio Adalberto Ovelar Benítez (right) and Vice Foreign Minister Remus Chen (center). Photo courtesy of Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Taipei, April 14 (CNA) President of the Paraguayan Senate Silvio Adalberto Ovelar Benítez arrived in Taiwan on Sunday for a trip during which he will meet with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), President-elect Lai Ching-te (賴清德) and other senior government officials.

Upon arrival at Taoyuan International Airport on Sunday afternoon, Ovelar said through an interpreter that he is happy to be invited by Taiwan's government to visit the country again.

"We believe our bilateral relations are not just cooperation between two countries but a combination of deep affection and friendship between two peoples and governments," Ovelar said.

During his stay in Taiwan, which will run until Thursday, the speaker will meet with Tsai and Lai and visit the Legislative Yuan, according to Ovelar.

He recalled meeting Lai in August last year in Paraguay when the latter attended the inauguration of Paraguay President Santiago Peña.

The speaker from the Southern American ally also reiterated his country's "resolute support" for Taiwan in particularly the country's right to attend the United Nations and its related meetings.

The speaker was welcomed by Vice Foreign Minister Remus Chen in the airport.

Ovelar is leading a delegation consisting of Hermelinda Alvarenga de Ortega, second vice-president of the Chamber of Senators and Senator Pedro Alejandro Díaz, both members of the Paraguayan Parliamentary Commission of Friendship - Republic of China (Taiwan).

During their five-day stay in Taiwan, they will meet with Tsai, Lai and attend separate banquets hosted by Legislative Speaker Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) and Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

The delegates will also visit the International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), a development aid agency founded by MOFA, and Overseas Investment & Development Corp.

The ongoing trip marks Ovelar's third visit to Taiwan. He last visited the country in 2004 as then minister of social development and during his previous stint as Senate speaker, according to MOFA.

He is a seasoned politician and a popular senator in Paraguay known for his Taiwan-friendly stance and hosted the inauguration ceremonies for former President Mario Abdo and Peña, it added.

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