CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 22 July 2017

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Taipei loses Panama in diplomacy race

 

BEIJING (AsiaNews): Taipei lost another friend in its diplomatic race with Beijing when Panama cut its diplomatic relations with Taipei in order to establish relations with Beijing.
 
The president of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, announced the move during a television interview on June 12, the same day that the Foreign Minister from China, Wang Yi, and his counterpart from Panama, Isabel Saint Malo, signed a joint statement confirming the new relationship.
 
The move leaves Taipei with only 20 countries or territories as full diplomatic partners, most of which are tiny poverty-stricken entities in Africa, Central America or tiny Pacific islands.
 
Some have jumped allegiance between Beijing and Taipei on a few occasions in the past, depending on the deals going at the time.
 
Its only diplomatic friend in Europe is the Vatican and in South America, Paraguay.
 
The Republic of China, which is the official name of what is commonly referred to as Taiwan, is the only full blown democracy in the Chinese world, but Beijing regards it as a rebel province.
 
China also puts pressure on all its economic and diplomatic partners to adhere to its principle of One China, so no country can have full diplomatic relations with both Beijing and Taipei.
 
For some time Beijing has been waging a diplomatic war against the rebel island, pushing the various states that recognise Taiwan to abandon it in return for economic favours.
 
This leaves these states to figure out whether they can get a better deal from Taipei or Beijing and last year, Sao Tomé and Principe, two tiny islands off the coast of Africa; and The Republic of The Gambia chose to run with the big money and back Beijing.
 
Panama tried to make the move back in 2010, but was rejected by Beijing.
 
However, the wind blowing off the mainland across the straits was warm and protective at that time, but with the advent of Tsai Ing-wen as the president of Taiwan, the wind has chilled and now seeks to isolate.
 
Tsai's party is suspected of having independent leanings and Tsai herself has kept silent on the principle of One China.

 

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