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Panama Switches Diplomatic Recognition From Taiwan to China

Panama Switches Diplomatic Recognition From Taiwan to China

"The break carries symbolic significance, given that official diplomatic ties go back a long way", said Ja Ian Chong, an associate professor with the National University of Singapore who specialises in Asia-Pacific relations.

Chen said there have been many signs that Beijing has increased its pressure on the diplomatic front against Taipei since Tsai took office more than a year ago.

"China-Panama relations have opened a new chapter", Wang said, describing Panama's decision as in "complete accordance" with its people's interests and "in keeping with the times".

A joint communiqué establishing ties was also signed by China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Panama's Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo in Beijing today.

Panama's government said in a statement that it recognised there was only one China, with Taiwan belonging to the Asian giant, and that it was severing ties with Taipei. The island now has just 20 formal diplomatic partners, 12 of which are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He said Taiwan would immediately end cooperation with and assistance for Panama.

Taiwan was also not able to attend this year's annual assembly of the World Health Organization because of Beijing's pressure, and has been prevented from participating in meetings of other world bodies such as Interpol, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, he said.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit agreement reached in 1992 between the then Kuomintang administration and Beijing that there is only one China across the Taiwan Strait, with Taiwan and China free to interpret what that means. China put forward a formula, known as "one country, two systems", under which Taiwan would be given significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification.

Panama has switched formal diplomatic ties to mainland China and broken with Taipei, dealing a major setback to Taiwan and boosting Beijing's presence in the US' backyard.

"Beijing's suppression of Taiwan's global space is not just an open threat to the Taiwanese people's right to life, it is a provocation of the peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the region", it said in a statement.

"Both nations are betting on a more interconnected world", Varela said in a possible allusion to Chinese economic involvement in the canal.

After decades of siding with Taiwan in the disagreement, Panama now "recognizes that there is only one China in the world" and that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory.


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