FEATURE: President works to keep Central American friends

Taipei Times
Date: Jan 15, 2017
By: NY Times News Service, MEXICO CITY

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been in Central America this week, attending the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, touring Guatemala’s colonial city of Antigua and visiting the shrine of Honduras’ patron saint.

From a global perspective, it is the sort of tour that looks like a diplomatic asterisk. However, there is nothing trivial about it for Tsai, who is in Central America to shore up relationships amid increasing pressure from China.

Taiwan has diplomatic relations with only 20 nations, along with the Vatican; the largest cluster of those is in Latin America and the Caribbean. These relationships, complete with embassies, trade agreements and foreign aid, strengthen Taiwan’s effective sovereignty.

Maintaining the few formal relationships Taiwan has is an important source of domestic legitimacy for its leaders.    [FULL  STORY]

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