Taiwan severed diplomatic ties with Nicaragua shortly after the Central American nation on Thursday switched recognition to China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Taiwan recalled staff from its embassy and technical mission after Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s administration announced that it would only recognize China, the ministry said.
“The People’s Republic of China [PRC] is the only legitimate government that represents all China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory,” the Nicaraguan government said in a statement. “As of today, Nicaragua breaks its diplomatic relations with Taiwan and ceases to have any official contact or relationship.”
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
Although Nicaragua’s diplomatic switch leaves Taiwan with just 14 diplomatic allies, it comes as Taipei bolsters ties with multiple unofficial Western friends, including the US.
The ministry said that Taiwan “deeply regrets” that the Nicaraguan government has disregarded the friendship between Taiwanese and Nicaraguans.
“To safeguard national sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan has decided to terminate diplomatic relations with Nicaragua with immediate effect, end all bilateral cooperation projects and aid programs, and recall staff of its embassy and technical mission in Nicaragua,” it said.
The ministry also expressed “strong condemnation” of Beijing, saying China had forced Taiwan’s ally to switch allegiance in an attempt to squeeze Taipei’s international space.
“The people of Taiwan will not cave to China’s pressure,” it said.
The ministry added that Taiwan was not part of the PRC, which has never ruled over Taiwan.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said that despite Nicaragua’s decision, Taiwan would not abdicate its responsibilities as a member of the international democratic community.
“The more successful Taiwan’s democracy, and the greater the international support, then the greater the pressure from the authoritarian camp,” Tsai said. “Whether it’s diplomatic pressure or military intimidation, we will not change our determination to adhere to democracy and freedom, to go on the international stage and participate.”
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said there was no “economic preconditions” to establishing ties, adding that it was “a policy decision, and definitely not a trading of bargaining chips.”
This is the second time that Nicaragua has cut ties with Taiwan under Ortega.
In 1985, Ortega’s government ended 55 years of formal relations with Taiwan and switched recognition to China.
After Violeta Barrios Torres de Chamorro replaced him as president in 1990, ties with Taiwan resumed, subsequently being maintained by Ortega after he returned to office in 2007.
In Taipei, the Ministry of Education said it would provide necessary support and assistance to the 143 Nicaraguan students living in Taiwan who wish to continue their studies here.
There are no Taiwanese nationals studying in Nicaragua, it added.
Since May 2016, when Tsai came to office, Taiwan has lost eight diplomatic allies: Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Kiribati, Nicaragua, Panama, Sao Tome and Principe, and the Solomon Islands.
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