Panama does not expect any change in its relations with Taiwan or China, a senior official from the isthmus nation said on Friday, despite increased pressure from Beijing on Taiwan’s allies to sever ties.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is to visit Central America next month, against a tense backdrop after news of her telephone call with US president-elect Donald Trump angered China earlier this month.
Panama is one of Taiwan’s oldest friends, but some diplomats in Beijing have said the Central American country could become the next nation to break ties.
“Relations with Taiwan are good, in excellent condition as always,” Panamanian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Miguel Hincapie said in an interview. “They’ve been a cooperative partner of Panama for many years, and will continue to be so.”
Tsai is not scheduled to visit Panama on her trip, which is to encompass Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Hincapie also said that the country’s relationship with China was “excellent” and did not comment on whether there had been any pressure from China to break with Taiwan.
“China is an investor in Panama, a user of the [Panama] Canal, a very important user of the canal,” the minister said.
Asked about what impact US president-elect Donald Trump’s support for Taiwan could have on Panama, Hincapie said: “We have relations with Taiwan, the United States does not ... so it’s an issue for the United States.”
Since the mid-1990s, almost a third of Taiwan’s allies have broken ties. It now has formal relations with just 21, mostly smaller and poorer nations in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.
BUSY DAY: The same day the USS ‘Barry’ passed through the Strait, Taiwan was ending its Han Kuang military exercises, while China said it conducted an exercise near Taiwan A US Navy ship on Friday sailed through the Taiwan Strait, marking the ninth time a US military vessel has transited the Strait since US President Joe Biden took office in January. The USS Barry, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, conducted a “routine” transit through the Strait, the US Navy said in a statement, adding that the journey through international waters was conducted “in accordance with international law.” “The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the US Navy said. “The United States military flies, sails and operates anywhere international law allows.” The Ministry
FRUIT SPAT: The COA said China had not given evidence for halting wax and custard apple imports, adding that it would spend NT$1bn on promoting sales of the fruit Taipei threatened to take China to the WTO yesterday after Beijing said it would suspend wax apple and custard apple imports from Taiwan due to pest concerns. China’s customs administration earlier yesterday said it had repeatedly found pests called Planococcus minor, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all affiliated offices to stop clearing the products from today. China had acted unilaterally, without providing scientific evidence, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference, criticizing the announcement’s timing, as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan
ON ALERT: A woman who tested positive for COVID-19 while abroad last year tested negative twice in Taiwan before showing a positive result on Sunday, the center said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, four imported cases and no deaths. The CECC meanwhile warned nearly 500 people to monitor their health after a woman tested postive. The center also reported that a previous local case — a female worker at Taoyuan International Airport Services (桃園航勤), who had the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — likely contracted the disease from the same source as a previous imported case from Turkey. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the two local cases were reported in Taipei, and are a
CLOSED DOORS? The new US rules, which are to be implemented in November, have sparked concern in Taiwan, given its low fully vaccinated coverage rate The US plans to allow entry to most foreign air travelers as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — while adding a testing requirement for unvaccinated Americans and barring entry for foreigners who have not received shots. The measures announced on Monday by the White House mark the most sweeping change to US travel policies in months, and widen the gap in rules between vaccinated people — who would see restrictions relaxed — and unvaccinated people. The new rules would replace existing bans on foreigners’ travel to the US from certain regions, including Europe. While the move would open the