Sun, Feb 10, 2019 - Page 1 News List

MOFA alert as El Salvador hints at new ties

Staff writer, with CNA

Salvadorean president-elect Nayib Bukele, right, and his wife, Gabriela Rodriguez, pose after voting in the presidential election at a polling station in San Salvador on Sunday last week.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan is closely monitoring the political situation in former ally El Salvador following a general election, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said on Friday, after an aide to Salvadorean president-elect Nayib Bukele on Thursday said that the new leader would assess whether to maintain ties with Beijing instead of Taipei.

Bukele, a former mayor of the country’s capital, San Salvador, won the presidential election on Sunday last week by a landslide, garnering more than 50 percent of the vote and ending 25 years of two-party dominance in the Central American nation.

During the campaign, Bukele was critical of the benefits El Salvador received after establishing diplomatic relations with China.

The outgoing leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in August last year cut ties with Taipei in favor of Beijing, ending 85 years of diplomatic ties.

Federico Anliker, secretary-general of Bukele’s New Ideas party, said that the incoming administration would investigate why the outgoing government forged ties with China, Reuters reported on Thursday.

“With the issue of China, China-Taiwan relations, we have to study them and put them in the balance — what is best for the nation, not what is best for a political party, as the [outgoing administration] did,” the report quoted Anliker as saying.

“We were not consulted, nor did they give us the reasons [for establishing] relations with China. Now we have to investigate in detail,” he said.

Ministry spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) said that the ministry is aware of the comments made by the Bukele camp.

“We will continue to closely monitor the post-election political situation in El Salvador,” he said, without elaborating.

Taiwan decided to cut ties with El Salvador after the Central American nation’s request for an “astronomical sum” of financial aid was rejected, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said on Aug. 21 last year.

He did not disclose the amount.

El Salvador is the fifth diplomatic ally to switch recognition from Taipei to Beijing since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, often following promises of financial assistance or loans from Beijing.

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