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After Panama, Is Nicaragua Next To Cut Ties With Taiwan In Favor Of China?

Panama cut ties with Taiwan last month, Costa Rica did so in 2007

A Taiwanese citizen living in Managua holds Nicaragua’s flag and Taiwan’s flag as she waits for arrival of Tawain’s President Tsai Ing-wen at the textile industrial park in Managua, Nicaragua January 10, 2017.Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters

TODAY NICARAGUA – Could Nicaragua be the next in Central American to break ties with Taiwan in favor of China?

Despite Nicaragua statement earlier this year, that it wanted to secure bigger international recognition for Taiwan, the recent ditching of Taiwan by Panama could have an effect on government of Daniel Ortega.

Last month, Panama became the second country in the region to do so, following the example of Nicaragua’s neighbor, Costa Rica back in 2007.

Concerned about Taiwan’s independentist posture following the election last January of the Democratic Progressive Party, China has sought to bring about a change of allegiances in various parts of the world, especially in Latin America, where Taiwan has a strong presence.

Taiwan for its part has been fighting back, including a visit last January by President Tsai Ing-wen to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

 

Altough Nicaragua is seeking Chinese investment for a massive canal to compete with Panama’s waterway, Ortega is said to continue backing Taiwan.

In January, Ortega said in the state media of Taiwan,“We’re still engaged in this battle, which is a just battle, one of principles, so that the people of Taiwan continue to be incorporated in international organizations attached to the United Nations.”

According to Forbes, in Central America, Nicaragua is the most likely to break ties with Taiwan. Again.Daniel Ortega’s government gave Tsai a warmer than expected welcome in January. But he broke relations with Taiwan for China in 1985 and Tsai’s visit to the country in January was oddly hard to plan, raising suspicion that Ortega was plotting another switch. In 2013 the Nicaraguan government turned over

The Forbes report last month said Daniel Ortega’s government gave Tsai a warmer than expected welcome in January. But he broke relations with Taiwan for China in 1985 and Tsai’s visit to the country in January was oddly hard to plan, raising suspicion that Ortega was plotting another switch.

In 2013 the Nicaraguan government turned over responsibility of a 280 kilometer (175 mile) canal to a Chinese businessman. The US$50 billion Nicaragua Interoceanic Canal, which would connect the country’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts, is now either paralyzed or nonexistent. If China wants to revitalize the canal as part of its ever-growing Belt-and-Road initiative to spread its industry around the world, it might get Ortega’s attention again.

For example, neighbouring Costa Rica which since 2012 has had a free trade agreement with China, has seen an increase in Chinese imports from us$1.4 billion six years ago to us$2.1 billion last year, while exports to China last year were valued at only us$46 million.

Currently, the Central American countries left with full diplomatic relations with Taiwan are: Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

 

 

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