Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China

Randolph Lopez
June 13, 2017

Isabel de Saint Malo, the foreign minister, signed a joint communique with her Chinese counterpart in Beijing, drank a champagne toast and said that she looked forward to "exporting more goods from Panama to China".

Earlier on Tuesday, Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela said the Central American country was breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establishing official relations with China.

Both Beijing and Panama City have agreed to respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In a joint statement, the two countries said they were establishing ambassador-level relations.

Beijing has long viewed self-ruled Taiwan as a breakaway province, since the defeat of Chinese Nationalist forces by Mao Zedong's Communists prompted a move to Taiwan in 1949.

He also accused Panama of cheating Taiwan by not telling Taipei about its intention to open ties with Beijing, calling it "very unfriendly". Taiwan now has official ties with 20 countries and governments, 12 of which are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today, Chinese ships are the number two users of the Panama Canal, the Central American country's main source of budget revenue.

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Taiwan's government expressed its anger over the move on Tuesday, saying it was "sorry" for the decision and that it would not compete with China in what it described as a "diplomatic money game".

Panama is the second country to switch recognition to Beijing since Tsai took office previous year, following Sao Tome and Principe in December.

In 1971, Taiwan - officially the Republic of China (ROC) - was forced to withdraw from the United Nations after the General Assembly passed a motion recognizing the People's Republic of China as the only lawful representative of China to the UN.

China has a non-negotiable One-China policy and the government regards Taiwan as an integral part of it.

Liao said he was not anxious about a domino effect among Taiwan's allies and instead urged the government to put more resources into maintaining the conveniences Taiwanese passport holders have around the world, saying that would be the most meaningful result of diplomacy for most Taiwanese.

Jou said Panama was an important diplomatic ally of Taiwan because of its strategic position and its Panama Canal, the world's busiest transportation route.

"By taking away Panama, it once again teaches Tsai's government the lesson that if she doesn't accept the "one China" principle ... there will be consequences".

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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