PANAMA SWITCHES SIDES: Academics lament loss of Panama

ICE COLD:Cross-strait relations might become difficult after Panama’s move toward China, and Tsai should explain the ramifications for Taiwan, academics said

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 14, 2017
By: Jake Chung / Staff writer, with CNA

Academics yesterday voiced concerns that Panama’s switch of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to

A man walks past the national flags of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taipei yesterday, including that of Panama, second right.  Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Beijing might not be an isolated case.

National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of National Development professor Jou Jyh-bang (周治邦) said “it is a big loss for Taiwan” after Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced that Panama was establishing diplomatic ties with China.

Panama was an important diplomatic ally because of its strategic position and the Panama Canal, the world’s busiest transportation route, Jou said.

“The severance of ties between Taiwan and Panama was because of a stagnation in cross-strait relations since the new government came to power last year,” Jou said, referring to President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who took office on May last year.

Panama’s decision has left Taiwan with only 20 diplomatic allies, Jou said, adding that Taiwan’s diplomatic ties are mostly based on strategic investment and helping allies develop agricultural and healthcare systems.    [FULL  STORY]

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