Sat, May 12, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Nicaragua cannot be bought: ambassador

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Nicaragua will not abandon Taiwan, Nicaraguan Ambassador William Tapia said yesterday, adding that the Central American nation will not be “bought by dollars.”

Tapia made the remarks at a gathering with the media at the Nicaraguan embassy in Taipei, amid mounting concerns that the nation’s other diplomatic allies could follow in the footsteps of the Dominican Republic, which last month switched diplomatic recognition to China.

Nicaragua is one of Taiwan’s 19 diplomatic allies. The two nations resumed diplomatic ties in 1990 after then-Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega — who is also the incumbent president — switched recognition to Beijing in 1985.

“We have never thought about leaving Taiwan. Why would we leave Taiwan? It is our best ally... My president [Ortega] has said that as long as he is president of Nicaragua, we [will] never abandon Taiwan,” Tapia said.

Tapia said he did not understand why his country has been repeatedly singled out every time Taiwan lost a diplomatic ally.

“I’m very proud to say that among all the Latin American countries, Nicaragua is the best. We [Nicaraguans] are sincere. If I say I love you, that means I love you. If I say I won’t betray you, I won’t betray you... When we make a commitment, we make a commitment,” he said.

While acknowledging that Nicaragua is facing strong pressure from Beijing, Tapia said he did not think Ortega would succumb to pressure.

Tapia said the Taiwanese government does not need to worry about losing his country just because of a Chinese-led interoceanic canal project in Nicaragua, which was inaugurated in 2014.

“You’re always worried about that canal. You know why it’s going slowly? Because we’re not going to get any pressure from any country. If we had surrendered to China’s pressure, we would have had that canal a long, long time ago,” he said.

Although some countries’ leaders might pledge commitment to Taipei while signing a deal with Beijing, Tapia said his government is not “two-faced” and that it “will not be bought by dollars.”

“We are people with dignity, we are people with words and we are people with commitment,” he added.

Turning to recent demonstrations in Nicaragua over pension reform, which have turned violent and resulted in many deaths, Tapia said his government has called for peace and dialogue after the situation became chaotic due to the circulation of fake news on social media.

Despite the protests, Nicaragua is still running normally, he said, adding that he hopes the rest of the world can support his government’s call for peace.

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