New ambassador to Paraguay assumes post amid questions

Jose Han (right)/ Photo from the website of Taiwan's representative office in Colombia

TAIPEI (CNA) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has confirmed that José Han (韓志正) assumed his post as Taiwan’s new ambassador to Paraguay on Monday, amid questions over the timing of his appointment.

Han is the former head of Taiwan’s representative office in Colombia.

MOFA spokesperson Joanne Ou (歐江安) said late Monday night that Han has officially assumed his new post, and reiterated that his predecessor, Diego Chou (周麟), was transferred back to Taiwan as part of a regular personnel shuffle.

Paraguay is Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America, and despite rumblings about the relationship, bilateral ties between Taiwan and Paraguay remain stable and friendly, Ou said.

Chou recently concluded his tenure and returned to Taiwan after less than two years in Paraguay.

Taiwanese ambassadors usually serve at least three years in their posts, leading to people wondering about personnel change and if the decision hinted at a diplomatic rift between the two allies following a recent vote in the Paraguayan Senate.

The Senate took a vote on April 17 in a virtual session on whether to urge the president to change diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, but it failed to pass by a 25-16 margin.

The vote came in response to calls by seven senators associated with the Frente Guasu, a left-wing electoral alliance.

At a legislative hearing earlier Monday, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said there was “no crisis” regarding Taiwan’s diplomatic ties with Paraguay.