torsdag 15. juni 2017

Panama Switch Marks China's Return to Checkbook Diplomacy

Panama’s President Juan Carlos Varela announced late on June 12 his intention to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan in exchange for recognition from China. Most countries switched to Beijing by the end of the 1970s, after Taiwan (as the Republic of China or ROC) lost its seat in the United Nations in 1971 to the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Panama had recognized the ROC since 1912 and with Panama’s move, Taiwan is left with formal relations with only 20 countries. Consistent with previous cases of countries switching recognition to China, Taiwanese officials immediately announced the end of joint projects in the country and the closing of their embassy in Panama. However, it is unclear yet if Taiwan will cancel scholarships for Panamanian students currently in Taiwan, as has happened occasionally in the past when diplomatic relations ceased.