Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China

Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China

Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China

Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lee speaks at the Foreign Ministry in Taipei on June 13, 2017.

"In light of the interests and wishes of both peoples, the Republic of Panama and People's Republic of China have chose to grant each other, from the date of this document's signing, mutual recognition, establishment of diplomatic ties at the ambassadorial level", the note said.

Panama is opening diplomatic relations with China, the latest blow to Taiwan as Beijing's leaders seek to isolate the self-governing island.

Panama has cut long-standing diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established relations with China.

The severance of ties with two influential countries in Central America - Costa Rica (in 2007) and now Panama - underscores the fact that Taiwan's diplomatic foundation has been hollowed out, Chen said.

He also accused Panama of cheating Taiwan by not telling Taipei about its intention to open ties with Beijing, calling it "very unfriendly".

Chen was re-elected in 2004, prompting China to pass a law the following year, stating China's right to use "non-peaceful means" against Taiwan if it tried to secede from China.

It says its own relationship with Taipei is founded on the "1992 consensus" between the two sides that effectively rules out the idea of Taiwan ever gaining independence.

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.

It adds that Panama recognizes only one legitimate China and that Taiwan "forms an inalienable part of Chinese territory".

"We express our strong protest and condemnation over the Beijing authorities luring Panama into breaking ties with us, oppressing our diplomatic space to manoeuvre and harming the feelings of the Taiwanese people", the statement said.

"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 is one of Taiwan's oldest friends, but some diplomats in Beijing had speculated that the Central American country could become the next nation to break ties.

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.

"Panama was one of the more significant countries that still maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan", Zhang said.

China is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal, the president said.

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