Panama cuts diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China
The Panamanian government said it recognised there was only one China and considered the island nation to be a part of the mainland.
Panama on Monday switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China. The Panamanian government said it recognised there was “only one China” and considered Taiwan to be a part of the country, reported the BBC.
Taiwan accused Panama of “bullying” and expressed “anger and regret”. “Our government expresses serious objections and strong condemnation in response to China enticing Panama to cut ties with us, confining our international space and offending the people of Taiwan,” said David Lee, Taiwan’s minister of foreign affairs.
China considers the self-governing island its own territory.
The change was announced by Panama President Juan Carlos Varela in a televised address. Varela said the decision represented the “correct path for our country.”
Panama and China, in a joint statement on Monday evening, said they were recognising each other and establishing ambassadorial-level relations the same day, reported The Guardian. “The government of the republic of Panama recognises that there is but one China in the world, that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” the statement read. “The government of the Republic of Panama severs ’diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes not to have any more official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan.”
Currently, only 20 countries have diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Panama is the latest country to switch sides. In December 2016, the African island nations of Sao Tome and Principe made a similar move.