Chinese FM says China imports zero soybeans from Paraguay; urges S.American nation to stand on right side of history
Published: Mar 25, 2024 05:56 PM
Staff members work on a pile of soy beans at a drying yard in Bei'an, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Oct 20, 2022. Photo:Xinhua

Staff members work on a pile of soy beans at a drying yard in Bei'an, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Oct 20, 2022. Photo:Xinhua

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday refuted Paraguayan President Santiago Pena's statement claiming that the country continues to export soybeans to China despite relations between Paraguay and the island of Taiwan.

The ministry urges the South American country to stand on the right side of history for its own development and the well-being of its people.

China is the world's largest soybean importer. However, according to China's customs statistics, the country's soybean imports from Paraguay stand at zero, Lin Jian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Monday.

According to media reports, Pena said on Friday that the country's trade with China does not affect relations between the island of Taiwan and Paraguay.

"The 66-year friendship between Taiwan and Paraguay runs deep. Paraguay continues to export soybeans to the Chinese mainland," said the president in a video posted on social media platform X.

There is but one China in the world, the island of Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, Lin said.

"The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm in international relations and a prevailing international consensus. The one-China principle has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the trend of the world," Lin noted.

If the Paraguayan government wants to seek development for itself and for the well-being of its people, it should be aware of the trend and choose to stand on the right side of history rather than make efforts to be clever and avail itself of loopholes, the spokesperson said.

Zhou Zhiwei, an expert on Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, criticized the Paraguayan president's remarks as opportunism, which aims to ask for more direct benefits from China's economic development while maintaining "diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan island.

"This is like having feet on two separate boats, which is doomed to fail," Zhou told the Global Times on Monday.

It also reflects growing calls within Paraguay to establish diplomatic ties with China, Zhou said.

Zhou said China's imports of a large number of agricultural products from Paraguay's neighbors such as Brazil and Argentina have greatly contributed to those local economies.

Meanwhile, countries like Honduras - which severed "diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan authorities and established diplomatic relations with China - have also enjoyed material dividends from sound trade and economic relations with China.

Global Times