Date: October 22, 2019
By: W. Alejandro Sanchez
The government of the Solomon Islands has decided to switch its diplomatic relations from the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). This announcement occurred almost parallel to the US government’s decision to provide a major package of military technology, namely “66 F-16C/D Block 70 aircraft and related equipment and support for an estimated cost of $8 billion,” to the Asian nation.
Thus, while Washington continues to support Taipei, it has been unable to prevent some governments from establishing relations with Beijing. Many of the nations that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan are located in Latin America and the Caribbean, two regions where the US has plenty of allies and partners; hence, as we discuss Taipei’s future in the Western Hemisphere, we must discuss what Washington can (realistically) do to help its ally.
Taiwan’s Loss Is China’s Gain
According to the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the countries that still have diplomatic relations with Taipei are Belize, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, as well as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Moreover, Taipei has economic and cultural offices in countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Peru. Nevertheless, Taiwan suffered diplomatic blows in recent years: Panama switched in 2017, while the Dominican Republic and El Salvador switched 2018. [FULL STORY]