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Posted by Maria Arias on June 13, 2017
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Panama cuts ties with Taiwan in favour of China

Panama has established diplomatic ties with China and broken with Taiwan in a major victory for Beijing. Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela said that Panama was upgrading its commercial ties with China and establishing full diplomatic links with the second most important customer of its key shipping canal.

He also said, “I’m convinced that this is the correct path for our country”.

“This is a historic moment. China-Panama relations have opened a new chapter,” China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, describing Panama’s decision as in “complete accordance” with its people’s interests and “in keeping with the times”.

In Beijing, Panama’s foreign minister Isabel Saint Malo said President Varela had expressed 10 years ago his interest in establishing ties with them, and that she hoped the move would lead to a trade, investment, and tourism opportunities, especially for exporting more goods from Panama.

Taiwan’s government expressed its anger, saying it was “sorry” for the decision and that it would not compete with China in what it described as a “diplomatic money game”.

David Lee, Taiwan’s minister of foreign affairs, told a briefing in Taipei: “Our government expresses serious objections and strong condemnation in response to China enticing Panama to cut ties with us, confining our international space and offending the people of Taiwan.