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Panama and Taiwan Sever Diplomatic Relationships; Panama Now Supports 'One China' Policy; Taiwanese Scholarships Transferring to China

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Panama has switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, handing a huge victory to Beijing in its drive to isolate the self-governing island it claims as its own territory.

Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela, announced the change – which entails breaking off formal relations with Taiwan – in a televised address, saying it represented the “correct path for our country”.

A joint statement released on Monday evening said Panama and China were recognising each other and establishing ambassadorial-level relations the same day.

“The government of the republic of Panama recognises that there is but one China in the world, that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” the statement read.

“The government of the Republic of Panama severs ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes not to have any more official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan.”

China has been seeking to punish Taiwan after President Tsai Ing-wen’s election victory last year. Tsai is sceptical of closer ties to Beijing and has declined to endorse China’s view that Taiwan and the mainland are part of a single Chinese nation.

“Beijing has made it clear they want to pressure Taiwan and try to diplomatically isolate it as a form of punishment,” said J Michael Cole, a senior fellow at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute. “But in no way was Panama crucial to Taiwan existing as a sovereign state, and trade and investment between the two will continue.”

Panama had been among the largest economies to have maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The island now has just 20 formal diplomatic partners, 12 of which are in Latin America and the Caribbean. The island is also excluded, at China’s insistence, from the United Nations and many other multinational bodies.

At the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing on Tuesday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, and the Panamanian vice-president and foreign minister, Isabel de Saint Malo, signed a joint communique establishing diplomatic relations.

Wang said he was sure relations between the countries would have a “bright future”. De Saint Malo said she hoped the new relationship would lead to trade, investment and tourism opportunities, in particular “exporting more goods from Panama to China”.

“[Chinese president] Xi Jinping wants to show he is tough on Taiwan, especially in the lead-up to the Communist party congress [in October],” Cole said. “It plays well with the Chinese domestic audience and hardliners, but it will only alienate the Taiwanese public.”

A recent poll by Taiwan’s government found 73% rejected the idea that Taiwan and the mainland belonging to one China is a precondition for political negotiations.

China and Taiwan split during civil war in 1949 and Beijing has vowed to take control of the island by force if necessary. While the sides have maintained an undeclared diplomatic truce for much of the past decade, relations have deteriorated under the Taiwanese president.

In the past year China has increased the diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, barring its representatives from attending the World Health Organization’s annual conference and other international gatherings.

Beijing cut contacts with Taiwanese government bodies a year ago, and recently sailed an aircraft carrier strike force around the island.

Taiwan’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that in breaking ties, President Varela had ignored the friendship between their countries and Taiwan’s efforts to help Panama’s development. Panama had “submitted to the Beijing authorities for economic benefits” and “lied” to the government of Taiwan, the statement said.

Taiwan would immediately cut ties, cease all bilateral cooperation projects and pull its diplomatic staff and technical advisers out of the country, the ministry said, adding that it would not “engage in competition for money diplomacy with the Beijing authorities”.

“We express our strong protest and condemnation over the Beijing authorities luring Panama into breaking ties with us, oppressing our diplomatic space to manoeuvre and harming the feelings of the Taiwanese people,” the statement said.

Beijing and Taipei have long competed to win diplomatic recognition, at times enticing small or poor countries with the promise of millions of dollars for public works projects.

China is the second-biggest client of the Panama Canal and the leading provider of merchandise to a free-commerce zone in the Panamanian city of Colon.



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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Panama Cuts Formal Ties With Taiwan in Favour of China; Taiwan Cuts Technical Aid to Panama
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Taiwan terminates technical aid for Panama

2017/06/13 18:29:41

Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維)

Taipei, June 13 (CNA) Following the severance of diplomatic ties with Panama, Taiwan is terminating all of its technical aid programs in the Central American country.

The affected programs include one on citrus greening disease prevention and control as well as pest management, which was initiated in cooperation with the International Organization for Health in Agriculture.

Also affected is a training program for medical personnel, as well as a Chinese-language volunteer program.

Panama's Vice President Isabel Saint Malo signed a joint communiqué with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) in Beijing on Tuesday to formally establish diplomatic relations, in which Panama stressed that it would not maintain any official ties with Taiwan.

In response, Taiwan's Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) said the government will halt all bilateral cooperative projects, cut all assistance to Panama, and pull out its diplomatic staff and technical missions from the country.

(By Scarlett Chai and Y.F. Low)



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Panama to establish diplomatic ties with China

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 20:49

paso canal.jpg

Panama to establish diplomatic ties with China

PANAMA CITY.- The Government of Panama will begin diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China.

This announcement was made by President Juan Carlos Varela through a national network.



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Taiwan has been generous to those countries that have recognized their sovereignty, but they can't match what China is offering in foreign assistance and trade.  It's admirable that Panama stuck to its principles for as long as it did, but selling out was inevitable.

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6 hours ago, JimAndNena said:

Didn't Taiwan fund the new marketplace in Boquete?  I remember reading that somewhere (but then I am also trying to remember where I left my shoes...).


I heard that too.  Also that they funded the Hosp. Obaldia for women and children, next to Regional.

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18 minutes ago, Bonnie said:

It is a shame that I can't access that news article. I am very interested in this turn of events, but can't read the that you referenced. Can you try again and give something that will work?

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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Panama Cuts Formal Ties With Taiwan in Favour of China; Taiwan Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Panama
38 minutes ago, BD said:

It is a shame that I can't access that news article. I am very interested in this turn of events, but can't read the that you referenced. Can you try again and give something that will work?

Copied from Bonnie's link.


Beijing Just Poached Panama, Among the Last of Taiwan’s Remaining Friends
•    JUNE 13, 2017 - 1:27 PM
At a time of growing Chinese investment, Panama has cut ties with Taiwan to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing. But China’s real impetus for bringing Panama into its fold is most likely political, seeking to punish Taiwan’s independent-minded president by poaching one of the island’s few remaining friends.
Panama President Juan Carlos Varela announced the switch on Tuesday. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a press conference that the two countries would cooperate in trade, investment, and tourism. Wang also encouraged Panama to participate in the “Belt and Road” initiative, a vague but sweeping plan championed by Chinese President Xi Jinping to forge trade deals, build infrastructure, and bolster Chinese soft power around the globe.
Chinese investment in Panama has vastly expanded in recent years as Beijing has pushed to secure trade and investment deals around the world. The Panama Canal, the narrow choke-point through which virtually all Pacific-Atlantic maritime trade must flow, has been a particular target. In 2016, the Chinese state-linked Landbridge Group signed a 99-year lease for Panama’s largest port, Margarita Island, which handles distribution of goods on the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal. Chinese state enterprises have also looked to develop approximately 1,200 hectares of land around the canal.
While lack of official ties with Panama hasn’t seemed to hinder investment, the growing business links have certainly deepened China’s interests in the Central American nation.
But it is politics, not economics, that most likely motivated Beijing. The loss of a diplomatic ally — and Taipei is down to 19 countries plus the Vatican — puts heavy pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Cross-strait relations have remained tense since Tsai was elected last year, ousting the Beijing-friendly KMT party and giving Tsai a mandate to push back against Chinese influence on the island. Beijing cut off official communication with Taiwan in June 2016 after Tsai refused to explicitly affirm the “1992 consensus,” which holds that there is only one China.
Beijing can easily lure Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to their side through the promise of trade deals, though allowing some countries to maintain relations with Taiwan can also serve China’s own purposes. It allows political bargaining chips to be played when Taiwan crosses the line.
Beijing has steadily chipped away at Taiwan’s presence on the international stage, blocking its participation in multilateral organizations and committees. Most recently, under Chinese pressure, the World Health Organization blocked Taiwan’s participation in its annual assembly, refusing to grant it the observer status it had enjoyed since 2009.
Panamanian recognition of China is the latest diplomatic blow to Taiwan. The other 20 partners have been recipients of Taiwanese development aid — a remnant of Taiwan’s “dollar diplomacy,” in which it competed with Beijing for the allegiance of developing states — but it’s a shrinking club, down from around 30 in the 1990s. Before Panama, Beijing’s latest catch was the small island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, as punishment for Tsai’s phone call with then-President-elect Donald Trump, the first time since 1979 that a U.S. president or president-elect has spoken directly with a Taiwanese head of state. Since the United States does not have official relations with Taiwan, to China the call was just a little too intimate.
Now, Panama is defecting. “Despite our national security team having prior knowledge of the situation and making every possible effort, the end result was still deeply regrettable,” said Tsai in a June 13 address.
“Although we have lost a diplomatic ally, our refusal to engage in a diplomatic bidding war will not change.”
Panama’s change of heart suggests that Taiwan’s other relationships in the region may be in jeopardy: Nicaragua also maintains relations with Taiwan, and it has also received billions of dollars of Chinese investment.
In 2013, Chinese billionaire Wang Jing signed a $40 billion deal to build a canal through a 170-mile swath of the country, a deeper and wider rival to the Panama Canal. Domestic opposition and red tape has so far prevented significant progress on the massive project

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  • Moderator_02 changed the title to Panama and Taiwan Sever Diplomatic Relationships; Panama Now Supports 'One China' Policy
13 hours ago, BD said:

It is a shame that I can't access that news article. I am very interested in this turn of events, but can't read the that you referenced. Can you try again and give something that will work?

It works for me. Perhaps it's on your end?

In any case, Bud reproduced it here.

Edited by Bonnie
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China to replace Taiwan scholarships

Shanghai University

 CHINA has pledged to receive all Panamanian students who are currently scholarship holders in Taiwan said Panama’s  Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on Tuesday. June 13

The Chinese  offer came a day after it became known that Panama broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan. and established them with China.



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On 6/13/2017 at 5:57 PM, BD said:

It is a shame that I can't access that news article. I am very interested in this turn of events, but can't read the that you referenced. Can you try again and give something that will work?

The link was copied and pasted by JimAndNina. See that response above, dated yesterday at 6:37 p.m.

You seem to be the only person who had trouble accessing it directly. I have no idea why.

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We know one of those 80 Panamanians currently studying in Taiwan, and soon to be in China. She is Boqueteña and about 20 years old, with a full four year scholarship in engineering. This has to be exciting for her and her family. We wish all of them the best.

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How exciting !!!!!  A good friend is a college professor who teaches from time to time at a University in China.  We get to enjoy his many pictures and tales of his experiences.  It was an eye opener to see the splendor of the Universities, the country the commercial centers....and more.   Hold on to your hat, China is on a roll!  The young lady will have an experience of a lifetime.  One thing that always resonated with our friend's sharing of his China experience was the kindness and generosity of the people of China.  ....sorta like Panamanians !


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  • Admin_01 changed the title to Panama and Taiwan Sever Diplomatic Relationships; Panama Now Supports 'One China' Policy; Taiwanese Scholarships Transferring to China

I, too, can testify as to the kindness and generosity of the Chinese. I accompanied my son to China 7 or 8 years ago. The academic department at the university where he teaches in the U.S. encouraged him to contact a university in Beijing. He did, and they immediately responded that they would love to meet him. They set a date, and when we arrived at the hotel in Beijing there was a message for my son saying that they looked forward to his "seminar" the following morning. He hadn't planned to give a seminar but assured me it was no problem. He went there mid morning, at noon they took him out for a long and lavish lunch, they returned to the university where they met with him and asked questions all afternoon, and then they took him out for a long and lavish dinner. He said it was the most interested, attentive audience he had ever experienced. In the meantime, I wandered around Beijing on my own that day and was approached by any number of Chinese who spoke perfect English and were very welcoming.

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Yup.  Great folks !  We as well had an experience there many many years ago on a humanitarian sort of trip.  Folks that when you separate from them you shed a tear.  That's special.  I will never ever forget some fo the wonderful folks we met there.  I remain touched to this day.

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Panama Opens Embassy in China

With the recent establishment of diplomatic relations, the Panamanian government intends to encourage strategies to promote trade, investment, tourism and cooperation between the two countries.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

From a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

The Government of the Republic of Panama, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, considering that on June 13, 2017, the Republic of Panama established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, wishes to report on the opening of the Panama Embassy in this Asian country, having previously fulfilled the formalities and terms of of its effect.

The opening of the Embassy of the Republic of Panama in the People's Republic of China has been carried out in accordance with the principles governing diplomatic relations between the two countries, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non- intervention in internal affairs of the other, equality and reciprocal benefit and peaceful coexistence.

Contact information: 
Embassy of the Republic of Panama in the People's Republic of China
Telephone: 0086-10- 6532-5981
e-mail: alchong@mire.gob.pa
Address: 6-1-11Tayuan Diplomatic Compound, 1, Xindonglu Dongzhimen Wai, Chao Yang Distric, Beijing 100 600.



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Panama believes other Central American countries will open up to China

Sun, 06/10/2018 - 12:10


The economic potential of establishing diplomatic relations with China is so great that it is likely that Taiwan will lose its allies in Central America and the Caribbean, Panamanian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Miguel Hincapie told EFE during an interview.

"One cannot look away knowing what China represents. I would not be surprised if other countries in the region were considering the possibility of opening up to China," Hincapie said.

June 12 marks the first year since Panama decided to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognize the "one-China policy," becoming the second Central American country after Costa Rica to establish diplomatic relations with the Asian giant.

The Dominican Republic followed suit on May 1 of this year, reinforcing China's position in Latin America and weakening Taiwan's, a country that now only has 19 international allies.

"The world is moving toward China, I even heard that the Vatican is carrying out negotiations ... Other Central American countries that do not have diplomatic relations with China are waiting to see the results from Panama and the Dominican Republic to make a decision," the deputy minister said.

Taiwan now has 10 allies in Latin America and the Caribbean (Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Paraguay), six in Oceania (Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau and the Marshal Islands), two in Africa (Burkina Faso and Swaziland), and the Vatican in Europe.

Hincapie recognized that negotiations with China were carried out in total secrecy "so as to avoid being pressured or boycotted by outside forces."

"I think that other countries that wish to establish relations with China will also be forced to carry out the negotiations in this way," the official said.

Asked whether the US government had opposed Panama's decision to establish diplomatic ties with China, Hincapie said that the United States had "respected Panama's sovereign decision and they themselves have diplomatic relations with China, so there was no reason to question our country's sovereign decision."

Hincapie mentioned some of the results of his government's decision to establish diplomatic ties with China, including Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela's official visit to China in November 2017, 23 cooperation agreements signed during that trip, as well as the establishment of a direct Air China flight between Panama and Beijing.

Hincapie added that trade between the two countries is expected to significantly increase, as negotiations to sign a trade agreement will begin next week.

China is the largest supplier of Panama's Colon Free Trade Zone, which is the largest free port in the Americas, as well as the second largest user of the Panama Canal, just after the United States.

"We want China to picture us as the entrance door to the rest of Latin America. We have the canal, ports on two oceans and air connectivity that no one else has, free zones, and many other benefits," he said.



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