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Panama forges Diplomatic ties with China and breaks away with Taiwan

Panama has established formal diplomatic ties with China and broke all of its relationship with Taiwan in a move that is seen as a victory for China in its drive to isolate Taiwan from the rest of the world. China claims Taiwan as its own territory.

Panama’s Stand

Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela has announced that his country has upgraded its commercial ties with China and has established full diplomatic links with China. China is the second most important customer of the Panama Canal and the leading provider of merchandise to a free-commerce zone situated in the city of Colon in Panama.

In addition, Panama has stated that it is breaking off its formal relations with Taiwan. Panama has said that henceforth it recognizes ‘One China’ in the world and consider Taiwan to be an inalienable part of China’s territory. Hence, it has said that it will not maintain any more official relationship or official exchanges with Taiwan.

China has welcomed the decision taken by Panama. China in the recent years has been showering a lot of favours throughout Central America to woo them to break ties with Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Response

Taiwan has said that it will immediately cut ties and cease all bilateral cooperation projects with Panama. It has also said that it will recall all of its diplomatic staff and technical advisers out of Panama. Panama is one of Taiwan’s oldest friends. Panama was one of the largest economies to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Panama is one of Taiwan’s oldest friends. Panama was one of the largest economies to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Background

Taiwan now has just 20 formal diplomatic partners after Panama has switched its ties. Of them, 12 partners belong to Latin America and the Caribbean.

China and Taiwan are being ruled by separate governments since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. China’s constitution claims Taiwan to be a part of its own territory. While both the sides maintained an undeclared diplomatic truce in recent times, the relationship got deteriorated after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen assumed office last year.

At china’s insistence, Taiwan has been excluded from the United Nations and many other multinational bodies like the World Health Organization and other international gatherings.

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Tsai Ing-wen elected as first female President of Taiwan

Pro-Independence Opposition candidate of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Tsai Ing-wen (59) has been elected as first female and 14th President of Taiwan.

Ms Tsai’s victory is the biggest mandate ever won by a DPP president and is only the second-ever victory for the DPP since Taiwan split with China in 1949.

The first was Chen Shui-bian who also was pro-independence (from China) advocate. During his time as President between 2000 and 2008 tensions had escalated with China.

Background

  • In the 2016 general elections, DPP which leads the camp that wants independence from China led by Tsai Ing-wen emerged victorious with 56% of the total vote share. She defeated Eric Chu of the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party that secured 31% vote share.

Comment

  • China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province (island) which will one day be reunited with the mainland. China also has threatened to take back by force, if necessary.
  • The two sides had split in 1949 after then nationalist KMT party had lost to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under Mao Zedong and had set up a new government in Taiwan.
  • The KMT Party has ruled Taiwan for almost past 70 years and has overseen improved relations with China in recent times.

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