(Taipei) Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei pledged Tuesday to support Taiwan, a “strong diplomatic ally”, on the second day of an official visit to the island, which his country is one of the last to recognize diplomatically.

As Beijing strives to isolate Taipei internationally, Guatemala remains on the short list of 13 countries that diplomatically recognize Taiwan.

“Let us stand in solidarity with those under permanent siege from across the Taiwan Strait,” Giammattei told Taiwan’s parliament on Tuesday, calling for an end to Chinese aggression on the island.

In front of the Taiwanese parliamentarians, the Guatemalan president also reiterated his full support for the sovereignty of Taiwan. “Guatemala maintains its unalterable position in favor of the recognition of Taiwan as an independent nation,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Giammattei had already said during a welcoming ceremony in Taipei that “Guatemala (will continue) to support the Republic of Taiwan as a strong diplomatic ally”, adding that “it will deepen its relations (with the island) in all areas”.

The visit by Alejandro Giammattei, who landed on the island on Monday, comes three weeks after a tour of Central America by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

She had been to Guatemala and Belize, the only two countries in the region to still maintain official diplomatic relations with the island, after Honduras broke off diplomatic relations at the end of March in favor of Beijing.

China considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces, which it has yet to successfully reunify with the rest of its territory since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

During his trip, which will end on Thursday, the Guatemalan head of state must also visit a technology company located south of Taipei, according to the office of the Taiwanese president.

“I look forward to our countries deepening their relations and exploring new opportunities for cooperation during this visit,” responded the president of the democratic island.

Asked about the meeting, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Mao Ning, said Monday that “developing relations with China would be in line with the fundamental interests of Guatemala and the aspirations of its people.”

At the end of her tour of Central America, Ms. Tsai had met in Los Angeles with the Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy.

This meeting had angered Beijing, which had retaliated with three days of major military maneuvers around Taiwan.