February 26, 2018

Panama Establishes Ties with China, Ditches Taiwan

13 June 2017, 11:49 | Kara Nash

Panama establishes diplomatic relations with China

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Isabel Saint Malo de Alvarado, Panama's vice president and foreign minister, attend a press conference after their meeting in Beijing, capital of China, June 13, 2017.

A joint statement released in the evening said Panama and China were recognizing each other and establishing ambassador-level relations as of that same day.

On Tuesday, Panama officially severed ties with Taiwan in favor of this new arrangement with Asian superpower China, which - in no uncertain terms - rubber stamps the Central American's recognition of the One China Policy.

China also welcomed Panama to participate in the Beijing-led "Belt and Road" initiative, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry cited Wang as saying.

Taiwan on Tuesday slammed Panama after it established diplomatic relations with China and cut ties with Taipei, accusing Beijing of using "money diplomacy" to sway the island nation.

In recent years, China has stepped up investment in Central America in an effort to persuade governments in the region to break ties with Taiwan.

Many countries, including the US, does not recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation.

After years of heavy rhetoric, relations between China and Taiwan started improving in the 1980s.

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Yet more importantly, it testifies to the growing global consensus on the new type of worldwide relations China has been championing, which features win-win cooperation as the core.

Taiwan is recognised by around 20 countries worldwide and its status is one of the most politically sensitive issues for Chinese leaders who pressure trade partners to accept its "one China" principle.

He said Taiwan would immediately end cooperation with and assistance for Panama.

Taiwan's circle of diplomatic allies has been shrinking since it lost its United Nations seat to Beijing in 1971.

"The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that only one China exists in the world, the Government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate Government that represents all China and Taiwan forms an inalienable part of Chinese territory", the statement read.

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.

China considers the self-governed island as part of its territory. China is the second-biggest client of the Panama Canal and the leading provider of merchandise to a free-commerce zone in the Caribbean city of Colon.

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