Highlights — 15 March 2016 — by Adele Ramos

BELIZE CITY, Mon. May 14, 2016–President of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, is scheduled to arrive in Belize at around 11:00 on Wednesday morning, for his final call on Belize before he demits office in May, when Taiwan’s first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, is due to take office.

On Sunday, March 13, Ma made a stop-over in Houston, USA, where the city was observing “Taiwanese Friendship Day.”

Ma arrived today in Guatemala, where he met with government officials there. He plans to address the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN, Spanish acronym), based in Guatemala, while in that country. He is scheduled to leave Guatemala at 9:00 a.m. Wednesday on a charter flight to Belize.

According to a source in the Belize Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ma was invited by the Government of Belize to discuss Taiwan’s bilateral relationship with Belize and celebrate the long-standing relations which the countries have enjoyed.

While in Belize, President Ma is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Dean Barrow, Foreign Minister Wilfred “Sedi” Elrington and Governor-General Sir Colville Young. A highlight of Ma’s trip to Belize is Ma’s meeting with leaders of three of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Caribbean: St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Timothy Harris, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, and St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony.

The Governor-General is planning to host Ma at a luncheon on Wednesday, and Ma is arranging a dinner for his counterparts on Wednesday night.

Before he leaves Belize, he plans to spend some time to enjoy the treasured attractions we have to offer.

This will be Ma’s second visit to Belize. His first visit was in 2009, during his first term of office.

In his budget speech delivered last Tuesday, March 8, Prime Minister Barrow identified Taiwan, along with Venezuela, as one of Belize’s most concessionary lenders. In the outgoing budget year, Barrow said, Taiwan provided a disbursement of $20 million in budget support financing under the ongoing bilateral economic cooperation program with Belize.

According to the Embassy of Taiwan in Belize, Belize and Taiwan established diplomatic ties on October 13, 1989.

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