Taiwan breaks ties with Panama

Flexible child care deal today might mean national program tomorrow: Duclos

Panama's Vice President Isabel Saint Malo signed a joint communiqué with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi on establishing diplomatic relations in which Panama stressed it would not maintain any official ties with Taiwan.

In a joint statement, the two countries said they were establishing ambassador-level relations.

He also accused Panama of cheating Taiwan by not telling Taipei about its intention to open ties with Beijing, calling it "very unfriendly".

The Communist Party considers Taiwan a province and has criticised President Tsai Ing-wen's refusal to accept that both sides belong to "One China", its precondition for ties.

"The Government of the Republic of Panama severs "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes not to have any more official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan", it continued.

"I'm convinced that this is the correct path for our country", Varela said.

"Taiwan is willing to help our allies in economic development, but we do not want to join in the race for money diplomacy", he said, hinting that China had paid huge sums of cash in an effort to distance Panama from Taiwan.

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After decades of siding with Taiwan in the disagreement over its status, Panama now "recognises that there is only one China in the world" and that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Beijing views it as the political foundation between Taiwan and mainland China.

Taiwan reacted furiously to the latest move.

As recently as December, Panama's deputy foreign minister had said he did not expect any change in Panama's relations with Taiwan or China. China put forward a formula, known as "one country, two systems", under which Taiwan would be given significant autonomy if it accepted Chinese reunification.

Cole said Taiwan needs to focus more on developing healthy relations with unofficial allies that are democracies and important economies, and not worry about maintaining official ties with small states which infrastructure investment Taiwan can not afford.

Beijing and Taipei have long competed with each other to win diplomatic recognition, at times enticing small or poor countries to switch with the promise of millions of dollars for public works projects.

Cross-strait tensions have been further exacerbated by a highly unusual call from Tsai to congratulate then US President-elect Donald Trump, who questioned Washington's policy towards the island, including its decision to not formally recognise its government.

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