Panama cuts ties with Taiwan, switches to China

2017-06-13 14:33
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a joint press briefing with Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo after signed a joint statement in Beijing on establishing diplomatic relations. (Greg baker, AFP)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a joint press briefing with Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo after signed a joint statement in Beijing on establishing diplomatic relations. (Greg baker, AFP)

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Beijing - Panama and China announced on Tuesday they were establishing diplomatic relations, as the Central American nation became the latest to dump Taiwan for closer ties with the world's second-largest economy.

The move prompted an angry response from Taiwan and will likely further strain ties between Taipei and Beijing, which considers the self-ruled island a renegade province awaiting reunification with the mainland.

Taiwan is recognised by around 20 countries worldwide and its status is one of the most politically sensitive issues for Chinese leaders who pressure trade partners to accept its "one China" principle.

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said in a nationally televised message "to the country and the world" that "Panama and China establish diplomatic relations today".

"This is a historic moment, China-Panama relations have opened a new chapter," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, adding that Panama's decision was in "complete accordance" with its people's interests and "in keeping with the times".

The announcement comes after Beijing began construction last week of a container port, with natural gas facilities, in Panama's northern province of Colon.

Panama had long stressed it had diplomatic ties with Taipei and commercial ones with Beijing.


Read more on:    panama  |  china  |  taiwan
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