Nicaragua sever ties with Taiwan, changes allegiance to Beijing


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A file photo of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as she walks through the hotel during her visit for President Daniel Ortega’s fourth-term investiture in Managua, Jan. 9, 2017.

Inti Ocon | AFP | Getty Images

Nicaragua on Thursday severed its long-standing diplomatic ties with Taiwan, changing allegiance to Beijing in recognition of the Chinese Communist Party’s “one-China” policy and reducing Taipei’s shrinking number of international allies.

“The government of the Republic of Nicaragua is today severing diplomatic relations with Taiwan and ceasing to have any official contact or relationship,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued in Spanish and English.

“The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” he added.

Taiwan reacted quickly, expressing “its pain and regret” at the decision, and claiming that the president of the Central American country, Daniel Ortega, had ignored the friendship between the peoples of Taiwan and Nicaragua.

But the government of Taiwan has also expressed its distrust.

“As a member of the international community, Taiwan has the right to exchange and develop diplomatic relations with other countries,” said its Foreign Ministry.

Taiwan will continue to promote “pragmatic diplomacy” to expand its international space and strive to achieve “due international status” to Taiwan.

China claims Taiwan is one of its provinces without state trap rights, and has stepped up pressure to win over Taiwan’s remaining allies.

Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun congratulated Nicaragua.

“We warmly welcome the good decision taken by the government of Nicaragua, which is in line with the prevailing trend of the time and the aspirations of the people,” he said in a tweet. “The one-China principle is a consensus widely accepted by the international community and does not allow for any dispute.”

The break with Taiwan is a big blow to the United States. It follows months of worsening Ortega-Washington ties, and came the day the US State Department said it had imposed sanctions on Nestor Moncada Lau, Ortega’s national security adviser. , alleging that he was exploiting an import and customs fraud program to enrich Ortega’s government members.

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last month, US President Joe Biden tore up Ortega, calling Nicaragua’s presidential election a “pantomime” as the former Marxist guerrilla and Cold War opponent of the United States won the election for a fourth consecutive term.

A Taiwan-based diplomatic source familiar with the region said the move came as no surprise given Washington’s lack of influence over Ortega due to the sanctions, and that they would look to China for help. help and support was a natural course of action.

“It looks like Ortega has had enough,” the source told Reuters, on condition of anonymity.

Nicaragua’s move leaves Taiwan with just 14 official diplomatic allies, most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as a handful of small states.

It also follows threats from the new Honduran leadership to break with Taipei. However, since the Honduran elections last month, the team around incoming President Xiomara Castro has retreated from that position somewhat.

Before Nicaragua, Taiwan lost two allies in quick succession in September 2019, when Solomon Islands and Kiribati crossed over to Beijing.

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