Taiwan Loses Nicaragua as Ally as Tensions With China Rise

Now only 13 nations and the Vatican still recognize Taiwan, up from 21 in total in early 2017. Since then, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Kiribati, the Solomon Islands and now Nicaragua have changed their recognition. to the People’s Republic of China. China has tried to keep Taiwan isolated, even preventing it from participating in international forums like the World Health Assembly, in hopes of forcing it to accept unification with the mainland as inevitable.

“While this will be disappointing for Taiwan, it is important to keep it in perspective,” said Natasha Kassam, a former Australian diplomat in Beijing who now works at the Lowy Institute, an independent research organization in Sydney. “In recent years, Taiwan has increased its ties with large unofficial partners like Japan and the United States, and those are far more important to Taiwan’s place in the world than its smaller diplomatic partners.”

Within minutes of Nicaragua’s announcement, Chinese state media reported that a delegation of Nicaraguan officials was in Tianjin, the port city where China has been holding diplomatic meetings during the coronavirus pandemic. His presence indicated the coordination between the two nations on the moment of the decision.

Nicaragua ended diplomatic relations once before, in 1985, after Ortega came to power for the first time, but reversed that decision five years later, under the presidency of Violeta Chamorro.

The latest change came a month after Ortega was re-elected for a fourth consecutive term as president after a vote that was widely criticized for consolidating his increasingly authoritarian government.

The United States criticized the diplomatic change.

“Without the mandate that comes with free and fair elections, Ortega’s actions cannot reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people, who continue to fight for democracy and the ability to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said the Department spokesman. of State, Ned Price. he said in a statement reflecting US criticism of the recent elections.

“We know, however, that this deprives the people of Nicaragua of a firm partner in their democratic and economic growth,” he added.

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