- BBC News World
“There is only one China in the world,” the Nicaraguan Foreign Minister said at a press conference on Thursday.
Through a statement, read by Minister Denis Moncada, the Daniel Ortega government announced its decision to sever its long-standing diplomatic ties with Taiwan to ensure its loyalty to Beijing.
“The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the entire Chinese territory,” the letter said.
And he adds that Nicaragua “breaks diplomatic relations with Taiwan as of today and ceases to have any contact or official relationship.”
The Nicaraguan government established diplomatic relations with Taiwan, moving away from China in the 1990s, when Violeta Chamorro assumed power after defeating Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista regime at the polls.
Until a few months ago, Ortega had maintained close cooperative ties with Taipei since he returned to government in 2007.
China’s Foreign Ministry applauded Nicaragua’s decision and reestablished diplomatic ties with the Central American country, Reuters reported citing Chinese state media.
“Painful and regrettable”
Taiwan, for its part, described the Nicaraguan decision as “painful,” according to the news agency. Reuters.
“To safeguard national sovereignty and dignity, my country has decided to terminate diplomatic relations with the Republic of Nicaragua,” he said in a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan.
“From now on, bilateral cooperation and assistance programs will cease and the Taiwanese embassy staff and technical team will be evacuated,” he added.
Cooperation between the two nations has been focused mainly on health, agriculture and social housing issues. And several Taiwanese companies have established themselves in Nicaragua since the 1990s.
“Taiwan has always been a loyal and trustworthy friend of Nicaragua,” said the Taiwanese foreign minister, affirming that the Ortega government “neglected many years of friendship between the peoples of Taiwan and Nicaragua,” which is “very regrettable.”
Nicaragua’s decision leaves Taiwan with just 14 formal diplomatic allies, up from 21 before Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016.
Honduras, Guatemala and Belize are the last allies of Taiwan in Central America.
However, the newly elected president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro, who will take office on January 27, pledged during her campaign to sever relations with Taiwan in favor of Beijing, although she has not repeated this promise since her election.
Chinese nationalist troops took refuge in Taiwan in 1949 after their defeat by the Communists. Since then, the Chinese government sees Taiwan as a separatist province that will sooner or later reunify the mainland country.
Although many Taiwanese emphasize that they want to remain independent, Beijing insists that both peoples belong to the same Chinese family and that the independence of Taiwan is unfeasible.
This tension between the two nations has permeated global politics, becoming almost an indicator of the state and movements of international relations.
Tension for Nicaragua
The decision of the government of Daniel Ortega occurs in a context of tension for the Central American nation.
Three weeks ago, Nicaragua announced its decision to leave the Organization of American States (OAS), which it accused of acting contrary to its principles, after the organization approved a resolution condemning the presidential elections, held in early November.
Ortega was reelected for a fourth consecutive term with 75% of the votes while the majority of the opposition had been detained or had been forced to seek exile.
The OAS questioned the elections and stated at the time that “they were not free, fair or transparent and they do not have democratic legitimacy.”
Both the OAS and the European Union (EU) have demanded the release of hundreds of civilian prisoners.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, described such elections as “pantomime”, which has increased tensions between the two countries.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.