Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China

Reuters

Reuters

Panama's government said on Monday it had broken diplomatic ties with Taiwan as it established formal relations with China.

The government said it recognized there was "only one China" and that it considers Taiwan part of it.

The decision by Panama ends 107 years of formal relations between it and the Republic of China, the official name Taiwan uses for itself.

Panama is the latest country to cut ties with Taiwan.

"I'm convinced that this is the correct path for our country", Varela said.

Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo (L) and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose with their documents after signing a joint communiqué on establishing diplomatic relations, in Beijing on June 13, 2017.

"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", it continued. Panama had "submitted to the Beijing authorities for economic benefits" and "lied" to the government of Taiwan.

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The establishment of links with Panama is a coup for China, which has been showering largesse on countries throughout Central America in recent years in an attempt to get them to break ties with Taiwan.

Taiwan will re-evaluate relations with China, Joseph Wu, the secretary-general of the presidential office, told reporters in Taipei after Panama's decision.

Though Lee bashed Panama for keeping Taiwan in the dark about the move, there were signs of Panama's intentions, and Taiwan used every means to keep the Central American country from moving in that direction, the foreign minister said, without going into detail of what Taiwan tried to do.

Chinese ships, after those from the United States, are the number two users of the Panama Canal, the Central American country's main source of budget revenue.

The change in ties comes almost a year after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited Panama in June 2016 on her first overseas state visit after taking office in May to cement ties with the country.

Earmarked at a cost of US$50 billion, the Nicaraguan scheme was met with widespread incredulity when it was announced in 2013, and critics have raised questions about its feasibility.

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