Taiwan has withdrawn from the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) to safeguard its sovereignty and dignity after the parliament passed a proposal to replace Taiwan with China as an observer in the bloc, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
The six-nation parliament, comprising Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic, met on Monday in Managua, where local lawmakers proposed to replace Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan with the Chinese National People’s Congress as an observer.
The parliament on Monday held a more than three-hour debate over the proposal, but cut it short although many members still wanted to express their opinions, ministry spokesman Jeff Liu (劉永健) told a news briefing yesterday.
Photo: Lu Yi-hsuan, Taipei Times
The proposal was passed with 73 votes in favor, 32 against and 9 abstentions, he said.
Taiwan has been a permanent observer since 1999.
The PARLACEN, ostensibly citing UN Resolution 2758, issued a statement saying that it deemed Taiwan to be a “province of mainland China, which disqualifies it from participating as an independent country.”
The ministry issued a statement condemning Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s authoritarian regime for misusing the resolution and manipulating the so-called “one China principle” to deprive Taiwan of its rights in the parliament.
Over the past few months, the ministry had explained to parliamentary members Taiwan’s long-term contributions to the region in a bid to solicit their support, Liu said.
The parliament’s decision is proof of the expansion of authoritarianism in Central America, as well as an attack on Taiwan and the global democratic camp, he said, adding: “We are highly worried about the future of Central America.”
Pro-China members on the PARLACEN “ignored Taiwan’s long-term contributions to the parliament and the integration and development of the Central American region,” the ministry said.
The move not only divided the unity of the parliament and undermined democracy and harmony in the region, but also hurt the cooperation and friendship between Taiwan and Central America over the years, it said.
The decision also “highlighted China’s intentions to undermine democracy in Central America and its ambitions to expand its power in the region,” it said.
The ministry reiterated that Taiwan, a sovereign and independent country, and China do not belong to each other.
China continues to suppress Taiwan’s international space and attempts to blatantly interfere in Taiwan’s democratic elections, which the international community would not support and would only “bolster Taiwan’s determination to actively expand its international space,” the ministry said.
Refusing to succumb to China’s intimidations, Taiwan will firmly safeguard the values of freedom and democracy, join hands with allies to protect regional peace and stability, and strive for the international space and status that the nation deserves, it said.
More than 10 countries, 16 Formosa Club cochairs, the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China and US Senator Bill Cassidy have voiced their support for Taiwan’s participation in PARLACEN, the ministry said.
The replacement “goes against the efforts of PARLACEN to bring democracy and peace to the region. This isn’t the direction that countries friendly to the US should be taking,” Cassidy said on the social media platform X.
Democratic Progressive Party secretary-general Chuang Jui-hsiung (莊瑞雄) yesterday said that expelling Taiwan from the PARLACEN was part of China’s efforts to interfere in Taiwan’s presidential election in January.
Such an unreasonable measure “will not be respected by any country in the world,” he said.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) said the withdrawal was “a major diplomatic setback.”
The KMT has always opposed China’s suppression of Taiwan’s international space, it said in a press release, urging Beijing “to face the fact that the Republic of China (Taiwan) exists.”
Some voiced concerns about Taiwan’s status in the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABAdditional reporting by CNA EI), which is part of the System of Central American Integration together with the PARLACEN and the Central American Common Market.
A Ministry of Finance official yesterday said that the two bodies are independent, so Taiwan’s membership in the CABEI would not be affected by the withdrawal from the PARLACEN.
Additional reporting by CNA
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