Panama forges ties with China, ditches Taiwan in win for Beijing
Panama forges ties with China, ditches Taiwan in win for Beijing
Flexible child care deal today might mean national program tomorrow: Duclos
13 June, 2017, 11:46
The Panamanian government has established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, Panama's President Juan Carlos Varela said in a televised national address on Monday.
Panama's Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo, left, poses with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for a photo during a joint press briefing in Beijing Tuesday, June 13, 2017.
China and Panama signed a joint communique Tuesday on the establishment of diplomatic relations.
The self-ruled island had diplomatic relations with as many as 30 countries in the mid-1990s.
In the past China and Taiwan had competed with each other to win diplomatic allies, wooing poorer countries with promises of aid and investment.
The president also announced on Twitter that "a moment ago", the Panama's Foreign Minister and China have met to finalize the negotiations.
"Taiwan is willing to help our allies in economic development, but we do not want to join in the race for money diplomacy", he said, hinting that China had paid huge sums of cash in an effort to distance Panama from Taiwan. "For this, the government will reappraise the situation of the ties across the Taiwan Strait", the South China Morning Post quoted Joseph Wu, secretary general of the presidential office, as saying.
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"We express our strong protest and condemnation over the Beijing authorities luring Panama into breaking ties with us, oppressing our diplomatic space to manoeuvre and harming the feelings of the Taiwanese people", the statement said.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be part of the country.
Panama had long stressed it had diplomatic ties with Taipei and commercial ones with Beijing.
Diplomatic tussles between Taiwan and Beijing eased under the island's previous Beijing-friendly government.
Jou said Panama was an important diplomatic ally of Taiwan because of its strategic position and its Panama Canal, the world's busiest transportation route.
A woman walk pass next to Panama flags a day before the inauguration of the Panama Canal Expansion project, in Panama City, Panama June 25, 2016. China is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal and has played a key role in sectors from banking to telecommunications, he said.
China considers the self-governing island of Taiwan a part of its territory, and most of the world does not formally recognize Taiwan as a condition of maintaining relations with China.
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