Panama ditches ties with Taiwan and established diplomatic ties with China

Vastavam web: Panama today cut long-standing diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established relations with Beijing to develop its commercial ties.Regarded as big blow for Taiwan, China and Panama signed a joint communique here formally establishing full-fledged diplomatic relations.They signed the joint communique in which Panama has recognized One China, meaning that Taiwan is part of the Chinese mainland.Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said on Monday that Panama was upgrading its commercial ties with China.
Last June Taiwan’s leader Tsai Ing-wen, a strong advocate of Taiwan’s independence from China visited Panama, on her first overseas trip as President.Taiwan’s foreign ministry condemned the move, alleging the island nation had demanded a huge amount of financial support.The move by Panama comes as China began construction of a container port with natural gas facilities in northern province of Colon last week.For long, Panama has maintained that it has commercial ties with China and diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
In December last year, the African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe made a similar move. Now only 20 countries have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Taiwan has left with few allies, mostly small countries.Panama did not give any reason for changing its diplomatic allegiance but there has been growing economic co- operation with China in recent years.China’s foreign ministry also released a statement saying that “the Chinese government and its people highly appreciate and warmly welcome” the move by Panama.Chinese companies are developing ports in Panama, and Chinese state firms are said to have expressed interest in developing the land around the Panama Canal once the country opens a tender for it later this year, media reports said.