Paraguay president's visit throws Taiwan diplomatic lifeline

Paraguay is the island’s sole remaining ally in South America as Beijing pursues a campaign to diplomatically isolate Taiwan

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2017, 12:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 July, 2017, 12:01pm

Paraguay’s president is visiting Taiwan, offering a diplomatic lifeline to the island whose international breathing space is being steadily chipped away by Beijing.

Horacio Cartes and his delegation are scheduled to attend events on Wednesday commemorating 60 years of ties between Taiwan and the landlocked nation, Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America.

Cartes’ three-day visit comes almost a month after Panama switched relations from Taipei to Beijing, leaving Taiwan with just 20 diplomatic allies.

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Mainland China claims Taiwan as its own territory, with no right to diplomatic recognition or other trappings of sovereignty.

Beijing renewed a campaign to diminish the island’s global standing last year after cutting ties with the independence-leaning government of President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse Beijing’s insistence that Taiwan is part of China.