Leonel Búcaro, president of the Central American Parliament (Parlacen), met with Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou on Tuesday. Radio Taiwan International (RTI) quotes Ma as saying that he had always advocated peaceful resolution of international conflicts, no matter if cross-strait relations (i. e. relations with China), or a fisheries agreement with Japan, was the issue. He would continue to promote international peace and cooperation under the the premise of putting aside disagreements and creating mutual benefit (擱置爭議、共創雙贏). It had been this attitude which had turned the Taiwan Strait, once a point of conflict, into a road of peace and prosperity, and a place very different from the Korean peninsula’s current status, Ma said.
President Ma also referred to a proposal he said he had issued last year in August, suggesting that mainland China, Japan and Taiwan could have separate bilateral consultations to lower tensions and promote common development of resources in the East China Sea. Ma cited the Japanese-Taiwanese fisheries agreement of earlier this month as an example of how to make sure that fishing vessels from both sides wouldn’t interfere with each other, without affacting either side’s sovereignty.
He also expressed great gratitude and admiration (非常感佩) for the Central American Parliament’s support for his East China Sea initiative (a resolution passed in February), and support for Taiwanese participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (a resolution passed in March), in activities of the UN United Nations Framework Convention on Climate, and Taiwanese participation in international affairs in general.
Búcaro and his delegation arrived in Taiwan on April 28 for a six-day visit, according to Taiwan’s state newsagency CNA. He is a member of El Salvadors left-wing FMLN party and was elected last October for a one-year term. The Central American Parliament was established in Guatemala-City in 1991. According to Parlacen, its twenty direct representatives are directly elected from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama and the Dominican Republic, and the former presidents and vice presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic are also members. It is yet to achieve the goals it would take to make it a real parliament; its objective is to realize the integration of the Central American countries. [...] The parliamentary groups reflect the ideological lines of the members of the Central American Parliament and are organized according to the political orientation of their parties.
Búcaro’s delegation includes members from all six Parlacen member states. They were also scheduled to meet Taiwanese foreign ministry officials including deputy foreign minister Simon Ko (柯森耀), legislative-yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), environmental protection officials, and other officials.
El Salvador is one of currently 22 UN member states (plus the Vatican state) who maintain official diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Taiwan, along with Mexico, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico, is an observation state to Parlacen.
Taiwan’s military academy (Republic of China Military Academy, ROCMA) trains military from diplomatic allies. In 2010, this included trainees from El Salvador. Such exchange programs play a contributing role in cementing diplomatic ties with our allies, Taiwan Today, a ministry of foreign affairs magazine, quoted then ROCMA superintendent Chuan Tzu-jui (全子瑞) in October 2010. Michael E. Allison, a researcher of Central American affairs, didn’t come across much about the Salvadorian-Taiwanese military relationship at the time, but noticed that [i]t doesn’t appear that El Salvador’s relationship with Taiwan (rather than China) has caused any trouble within the FMLN (i. e. Búcaro’s party), which has been in government in El Salvador since 2009.
Not much can be found online about Taiwan’s role in El Salvador’s civil war either, but if Taipei clearly took sides at the time (which doesn’t seem unlikely), even at home, the incumbent president reportedly disavowed any plans to judge his party’s enemies from the country’s civil war. Either way, political allegiance at home doesn’t seem to define dedication to foreign allies. When Ma Ying-jeou visited El Salvador in summer 2009 to attend the FMLN president-elect Mauricio Funes‘ inauguration, he also met with outgoing president Antonio Saca who is a member of the ARENA party, a party founded by a death-squad leader, Roberto d’Aubuisson. Saca was reportedly late for his meeting with Ma, and cut the scheduled meeting short. According to the Taipei Times, Saca had been close to former president Chen Shui-bian.
On Monday, president Ma, at an event to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the “Wang-Koo summit”, vowed [..] that his government would not seek or promote independence from the mainland, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
“We will not push for ‘two Chinas, one China, one Taiwan’, or Taiwan’s independence, within or outside” Taiwan, he said at an event in Taipei marking the 20th anniversary of the “Wang-Koo summit”.
In an interview with the BBC‘s Rachel Harvey, in 2011, Ma said that we do not want to be a troublemaker. We want to be an enabler of peace. It seems that this has remained his constant tune in meetings with foreigners, officials or not.