Guatemalan President-elect Alejandro Giammattei Cáceres said on Monday, Oct. 22 that his country “will stand with Taiwan.”

During a five-day visit to Taiwan, Giammettei, who was elected in August, met with President Tsai Ing-wen and expressed gratitude for the assistance provided to Guatemala over the years, Focus Taiwan reported.

The two countries established formal ties in 1935 when the Republic of China (now the official name of Taiwan) still had its headquarters in mainland China.

Giammettei already supported the Asian island during his time as president of the Guatemalan Olympic Committee between 1973 and 1981 to maintain its Olympic membership, and the president-elect’s father also had a friendship with Taiwan.

This gesture comes shortly after two states, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, withdrew their support, leaving the country with only 15 diplomatic allies worldwide.

Despite this, Taiwan has the strong support of the United States even in the absence of official ties, to such an extent that Washington threatened to cut off aid to the Solomon Islands as a result of its turn toward Beijing, according to The Diplomat.

Beijing escalated its strategy of isolating Taiwan from its allies after Tsai’s election in 2016, as Tsai refused to recognize the so-called 1992 consensus.

This is an agreement between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Kuomintang officials that both sides agree that there can only be “one China,” but disagree on what “one China” implies, this latter point has never been publicly acknowledged by the CCP.

In fact, Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party support Taiwan’s eventual independence, an idea that is gaining strength among Taiwanese citizens across the political spectrum, according to The Diplomat.

In January President Tsai rejected the idea of ‘one country, two systems’ proposed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who used the case of Hong Kong and Macao as a reference.

“The practice of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ in Hong Kong leads to a loss of freedom, rule of law, and human rights,” the Taiwanese president told The Diplomat.

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