Angry Taiwan threatens rethink of cross-strait relations as Panama switches ties to Beijing

Island accuses the mainland of stoking confrontation and lashes out at ‘chequebook diplomacy’

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2017, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2017, 5:16pm

An indignant Taiwan said on Tuesday it would rethink its relations with the mainland in the wake of Panama’s decision to cut diplomatic ties with the island in favour of Beijing.

The Central American country became the second of Taiwan’s dwindling number of allies to switch recognition to Beijing in six months, following the west African nation of Sao Tome and Principe last December.

Panama establishes diplomatic ties with Beijing in blow to Taiwan

“The move by the Beijing authorities is not only wrong but also affects the current situation, turning the peaceful development of cross-strait relations into confrontation. For this, the government will reappraise the situation of the ties across the Taiwan Strait ,” said Joseph Wu, secretary general of the presidential office.

The decision by Panama ends 105 years of formal relations between it and the Republic of China, the official name Taiwan uses for itself. Beijing sees the island as a renegade province that must be brought back under its control.

As a responsible power in the region, Wu said that Beijing should stop taking actions that hurt cross-strait stability and the feelings of the Taiwanese people.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry announced separately that it would end diplomatic relations with Panama, shut down its embassy and withdraw all its financial and technical aid for the country.

The island’s foreign minister, David Lee, expressed grave regret over Panama’s decision and hit out at Beijing’s “chequebook diplomacy” in its attempts to woo away Taiwan’s allies, whose number has now dwindled to just 20.

“We have the ability to aid our allies, but we would not resort to money diplomacy,” Lee said in a news conference.

Nations that recognise the government in Taipei rather than Beijing:

Asia-Pacific: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu

Africa: Burkina Faso, Swaziland

Europe: Vatican City

Latin American: Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines