Thu, Aug 23, 2018 - Page 3 News List

DIPLOMACY: US ‘disappointed’ with El Salvador decision

Staff writer, with CNA

The US Department of State on Tuesday expressed disappointment over El Salvador’s decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

“Although we recognize the sovereign right of every country to determine its diplomatic relations, we are deeply disappointed by this decision,” a department spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement to reporters.

“We are reviewing our relationship with El Salvador following this decision,” they said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday morning announced the severing of ties with El Salvador, after which El Salvador declared it was cutting ties with Taiwan to establish formal relations with China.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) attributed the switch to China’s campaign of luring away Taiwan’s diplomatic allies with promises of massive financial assistance and investments.

The spokesperson said Beijing’s efforts to unilaterally alter the “status quo” were harmful and do not contribute to regional stability.

“Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the US considers any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, of grave concern to the US,” the spokesperson said.

Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a non-profit policy research organization, said she believes China is concerned that the US President Donald Trump’s administration is using Taiwan to press Beijing into making concessions in the intensifying trade war between the US and China.

China is also worried that US support could encourage President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to seek support for Taiwanese independence, Glaser said.

The US should make clear that its strengthening of relations with Taiwan is in response to China’s military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, and has nothing to do with the trade war, Glaser said.

El Salvador is the fifth diplomatic ally to switch recognition to Beijing since Tsai took office in May 2016, due mostly to promises of financial assistance or loans from China.

The severing of diplomatic ties with El Salvador has reduced the number of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to 17.

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