External Content

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

El Salvador's Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez speaks with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen during an event in San Salvador, El Salvador January 12, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

(reuters_tickers)

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador said on Thursday it will strengthen ties with Taiwan as President Tsai Ing-wen visits Central America at a time when China suspects she is seeking formal independence from the mainland.

Tsai is making her last stop in the region on a trip that has taken her to Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, after meeting U.S. Republican lawmakers in a Houston stopover last weekend that angering China.

Foreign Minister Hugo Martinez told reporters that El Salvador's President Salvador Sanchez Ceren would hold a "special working meeting" with Tsai on Friday and they were expected to make announcements to strengthen bilateral relations.

Beijing was furious when U.S. President-elect Donald Trump broke years of diplomatic tradition by accepting a congratulatory telephone call from Tsai after his surprise election win. Beijing regards the one-China policy as the basis of its relations with the United States.

Tsai said on her arrival that El Salvador was an important friend to Taiwan.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Paul Tait)

Reuters