PANAMA CITY – Panama has announced its decision to sever diplomatic relation with Taiwan and established relations with China instead.
A statement issued by the Central America country’s government on Tuesday stated: “The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that there is but one China in the world, that the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.”
“The Government of the Republic of Panama severs ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes not to have any more official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan,” it continued.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be part of the country.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that it expressed “anger and regret” over what it called a “very unfriendly” diplomatic turn by Panama that “yielded to economic interests by the Beijing authorities”.
It accused Panama of “bullying” Taiwan while “ignoring the many years of friendship” between the two countries, and added it would “not compete with the Beijing authorities for money diplomacy”.
It was as recently as June last year that Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen visited Panama, on her first overseas trip as president.
Panama was among the few countries which had relations with Taiwan instead of Beijing, but now it has changed its stance and switched sides.
In December last year, the African island of Sao Tome and Principe cut ties with Taiwan. Now only 20 countries have relations with Taiwan.
‘Only one China’
China has made intensive investments in recent years into Panama, which owns the economically vital Panama Canal.
Regarding cutting ties, Panama did not present any reason, but it is clear that economic cooperation is growing over the past years between the two countries.
China and Taiwan split amid civil war in 1949 and Beijing has pledged to make the island part of mainland by force if necessary.