Nicaragua cuts ties with Taiwan, switches side to China

Managua says “there is only one China existing in the world,” in a recognition of the “One China” policy and reducing Taipei’s dwindling pool of international allies.

Nicaragua ends its policy of dealing with both China and Taiwan.
Nicaragua ends its policy of dealing with both China and Taiwan. (Reuters)

Nicaragua has broken diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognised “there is only one China,” boosting Beijing in a part of the world long considered the United States’ backyard and increasing Taipei’s isolation.

“The government of the Republic of Nicaragua declares that it recognises there is only one China existing in the world,” Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said on Thursday in a statement.

“The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory,” the statement added.

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“The government of the Republic of Nicaragua ceases to have any contact or official relationship [with Taiwan],” it added, in a decision that leaves just 14 nations recognising Taipei.

Taiwan expresses ‘pain and regret’

Taiwan Foreign Ministry in a statement expressed “pain and regret” at the ending of diplomatic ties with Nicaragua.

Taipei said it has always been a loyal and reliable friend of Managua and Nicaragua’s president has disregarded the friendship between the people of the two nations.

“The Ortega presidency disregarded the long-term friendship between Taiwanese and Nicaraguan that shared weal and woe. We are very sorry to see that,” it said, referring to Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and awaits reunification, by force if needed.

Beijing has spent decades successfully encouraging Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to switch sides, including three others in Latin America in recent years –– Panama, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic.

China hails Nicaragua’s decision

China’s Foreign Ministry, after meetings with Nicaragua’s finance minister and two of President Ortega’s sons in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, said the country had made the right decision.

“This is the correct choice that conforms to the general trend and people’s aspirations,” it said.

But the United States said that Nicaragua’s decision “does not reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people” because its government was not freely elected.

“We encourage all countries that value democratic institutions, transparency, the rule of law, and promoting economic prosperity for their citizens to expand engagement with Taiwan,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

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