Internal document exposes Paraguay requested assistance from Taiwan island before Lai Ching-te's trip, revealing ugly side of Taiwan's 'dollar diplomacy'
Published: Aug 17, 2023 07:09 PM
More than 200 people from a dozen of political and civil groups in the island of Taiwan on Wednesday protest

More than 200 people from a dozen of political and civil groups in the island of Taiwan protest "Taiwan independence" and the US' inciting conflicts and interference. Photo: Courtesy to Wang Zheng

This week, Taiwan regional leader Lai Ching-te traveled to Paraguay to attend the inauguration ceremony of the Paraguayan President and took the opportunity to make a "stopover" in the US. This is another example of the Democratic Progressive Party's behavior to "pursue independence" and proves Lai's identity as a "Taiwan independence worker."

The main purpose of Lai's trip is "relying on the US to pursue independence." Besides, another important purpose of Lai's trip is to stabilize Taiwan island's relations with Paraguay, its only remaining "diplomatic ally" in South America. However, a document seen by Global Times reporter recently showed that before Lai went to Paraguay, the Paraguayan government made a new request to the Taiwan authorities for assistance, involving an amount of over several million US dollars. The ugly side of the DPP's reliance on "dollar diplomacy" to maintain the fragile ties with "diplomatic allies" is fully revealed.

The Paraguayan diplomatic document seen by Global Times reporter on Wednesday shows that the Paraguayan National Customs Administration recently made a request to Taiwan's "representative to Paraguay," Han Chih-cheng, hoping that the Taiwan authorities could donate mobile high-energy X-ray scanners, with each unit priced as high as US$3 million. 

The document stated that Han replied that since this assistance was not included in the US$150 million assistance framework agreement signed between the two sides earlier, there is currently no relevant budget. However, Han agreed to maintain communication with the Paraguayan National Customs Administration regarding the assistance issue.

According to previous reports by the media, in August 2018, the DPP authorities signed a five-year assistance agreement with the Paraguayan government with total amount of US$150 million, involving various aspects such as infrastructure, medical care, and education. At that time, some people in the island of Taiwan criticized that the only means for the DPP authorities to maintain "diplomatic allies" was "throwing money".

The above comments also reveal a reality - without a continuous stream of "financial aid", the few remaining "diplomatic allies" of authorities in the island will soon leave. According to foreign media reports, as the only remaining "diplomatic ally" of the Taiwan island in South America, Paraguay has repeatedly expressed its hope to receive more assistance and investment. 

In September last year, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benitez called on the Taiwan authorities to invest $1 billion in Paraguay to maintain "diplomatic relations" and said that the people of Paraguay need to feel "real benefits" in order to resist the "temptation of turning to China diplomatically".

Recently, a lawmaker of the island, Cheng Li-wun, listed the DPP authorities' "aid diplomacy" on social media: in October 2017, the National Stadium of the former "diplomatic ally" Nicaragua was officially completed, and the project was funded by the Taiwan authorities with $30 million.

In November 2021, the foreign ministry of a certain "diplomatic ally" in Central America announced the establishment of a partnership fund with the Central American Bank, and the Taiwan authorities will provide US$1 million annually from 2021 to 2025.

In March this year, the Taiwan region has been experiencing an egg shortage for over a year, but its "external affairs" authorities provided 50 million TWD to help a small island country in the Caribbean raise chickens. 

The act of the DPP authorities desperately maintaining relations with "diplomatic allies" through "dollar diplomacy" has led to frequent calls for "stop selling Taiwan" in the island. 

Some people said, "Taiwan has become a 'cash cow' for 'diplomatic allies', and they can be exploited whenever needed. Instead of giving money to these 'diplomatic allies' that will eventually be lost, it is better to do more practical things for the people."