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US calls on diplomats in Panama, El Salvador and Dominican Republic for consultation

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  • Sat, 09/08/2018 - 20:03
Roxanne Cabral
  • Roxanne Cabral
  • Twitter @USEmbPAN

The State Department called on its diplomatic representatives in Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic on Friday for consultations in Washington to assess the decision by those countries to break ties with Taiwan in favor of China.

The spokeswoman of the State Department, Heather Nauert, informed in a communiqué of the decision of her Government, ally of Taiwan, claimed by Beijing as part of its territory.

Nauert said the US has determined it is necessary to call its diplomatic representatives for consultations on "recent decisions to cease recognition of Taiwan".

The measure affects the US ambassador to the Dominican Republic, Robin Bernstein; its ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes; and its business manager in Panama, Roxanne Cabral.

"Our three heads of mission will meet with US government leaders to discuss ways in which the United States can support strong, independent, democratic institutions and economies throughout Central America and the Caribbean," the spokesperson added.

Taiwan is considered a sovereign territory with its own government and political system under the name of the Republic of China since the end of the civil war between nationalists and communists in 1949, but Beijing regards Taiwan as a rebel province and insists that it must return to the motherland.

Taiwan is also one of the main reasons of dispute between China and the United States, mainly because Washington is the sole arms supplier to Taiwan and it would be its biggest military ally in the event of an armed conflict with China, in accordance with an agreement signed in 1979.

El Salvador was the last country to join a trend initiated by other countries that have decided to strengthen ties with China to the detriment of Taiwan, such as the Dominican Republic, which did it in May, Panama in June 2017, or São Tomé and Príncipe, in December 2016.

 

Panama will continue working "closely" with the US despite calls for consultations

Panama said Friday it will continue working "closely" with the United States despite the decision of the Donald Trump government to call its diplomatic representative for consultations over the decision of the Central American country to break relations with Taiwan in favor of China, which took place more than a year ago.

"Panama respects the decision of the US Government to call its Chargé d'Affaires in Panama for consultations, as well as to its Ambassadors of El Salvador and the Dominican Republic," the Panamanian Foreign Ministry said in a brief statement released to Efe.

In the two-paragraph letter, President Juan Carlos Varela said that "Panama will continue to work closely with the US on the bilateral agenda of both nations."

The US Department of State called on Friday for consultations in Washington to its diplomatic representatives in Panama, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic over the "recent decisions to avoid recognizing Taiwan," spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

The United States is an ally of Taiwan, and the measure affects the US ambassador in the Dominican Republic, Robin Bernstein; its ambassador in El Salvador, Jean Manes; and its business manager in Panama, Roxanne Cabral.

"Our three heads of mission will meet with US government leaders to discuss ways in which the United States can support strong, independent, democratic institutions and economies throughout Central America and the Caribbean," the spokesperson added.

Panama established diplomatic ties with China in June 2017, leading to automatically break relations with Taiwan, regarded by Beijing as a rebel province.

"Until today the Republic of Panama lacked diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, a state that represents 20 percent of the world's population and constitutes the second largest economy in the world. This is a situation that cannot continue being perpetuated by a responsible leader," said Varela, announcing the decision through his speech broadcast on national radio and television on June 12, 2017.

Since then, the Panamanian government has highlighted the progress in the bilateral relations with the signing of more than 20 million-dollar agreements and plans, such as a bullet train that would connect the capital with the province of Chiriquí, bordering Costa Rica, China's diplomatic ally since 2007.

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