PANAMA CITY–President Ma Ying-jeou has received a high level of courtesy on his current visit to Panama, the Republic of China ambassador to the Central American nation said Monday.
Ma arrived in Panama earlier in the day to attend the inauguration of President-elect Juan Carlos Varela on July 1. Taiwan media, however, questioned the absence of a military ceremony upon Ma’s arrival.
Addressing the issue, Ambassador Chou Lin pointed out that Ma was given a red-carpet welcome and was greeted on arrival by Panamanian Foreign Minister Francisco Alvarez De Soto, treatment not usually accorded to the other foreign heads of state currently visiting Panama.
Because the R.O.C. delegation was the largest and the only one that traveled to Panama on a charter plane, the Panamanian government made special arrangements for Ma’s flight to land at Howard/Panama Pacifico International Airport, which is more spacious than Tocumen International Airport, Chou said.
This allowed for a special stand to be built at the former U.S. air base to accommodate the media, he added.
Meanwhile, in response to questions over the absence of Ma’s official title on a Chinese-language invitation card for the president’s luncheon with Taiwanese expatriates in Panama, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao said in Taipei that this is the norm on Chinese-language invitations.