Countries that have turned their backs on Taiwan will one day face the consequences of their actions, former El Salvadoran president Francisco Flores Perez said in Taipei.
Flores also said that China had no right to force its allies to sever relations with Taiwan as a condition to establishing ties with Beijing.
In an interview with the Taipei Times conducted on Friday, Flores, who led the Central American country from 1999 to 2004, said it was "morally inadmissible" for China to require countries to dump Taiwan in order to become China's ally.
"The request is morally inadmissible because it is an intervention in another country's sovereignty and China has no right to make such demands," he said.
Flores asserted that, in the era of globalization, countries benefit where there is a diversity in their foreign relations. However, the diversity should not come at the expense of another sovereign nation, he said.
When asked if he believed Costa Rica's abrupt break-up with Taiwan last June could trigger a domino effect in Central America, Perez declined to comment, except to say that countries that snuggle up with Beijing, thinking that they would profit from an economic boom, are suffering from an "illusion."
"One day those countries will realize that what they thought was an economic advantage may actually work against them. China will be a competitor to their local businesses instead of a complementary partner," he said.
Right now, he said, it has become a "fashionable trend" for countries to switch recognition from Taipei to Beijing.
"But soon these countries will realize the cost of turning their backs on Taiwan," he said.
Costa Rica stunned the nation last June when it decided to recognize Beijing over Taipei. The severance immediately sparked speculation of more switches from among Taipei allies in the region. It has been widely rumored that Panama, Paraguay and Nicaragua may follow suit in the near future.
Perez suggested that Taipei should be more aggressive in showing the world that "Taiwan meets the all the requirements to be part of the commonwealth of nations."
"I believe many nations will be more likely to establish ties with Taiwan once they know about this country," Flores said, adding that in his own country, "Taiwan is seen as a model of success in economic freedoms, human rights protection and poverty eradication."
El Salvador established relations with Taiwan in 1961.
Last August, on a trip to Central America, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) signed a free trade agreement with El Salvadoran President Antonio Saca.