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Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China

13 Juin 2017

Varela thanked Taiwan for its years of support, but said his country saw new possibilities in establishing ties with Beijing.

M - Panama has cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and established relations with China instead, BBC reported.

China set up an office of commercial development in Panama in 1996.

Panama's decision leaves Taiwan with only 20 diplomatic allies in the world, 11 of them being in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pose with their documents after signing a joint communique on establishing diplomatic relations in Beijing China
REUTERS Greg Baker PoolChina Panama Officially Establish Diplomatic Ties

The two governments agree to develop friendly relations between the two countries on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, the communique said.

"The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that only one China exists in the world, the Government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate Government that represents all China and Taiwan forms an inalienable part of Chinese territory", the statement read.

As recently as December, Panama's deputy foreign minister had said he did not expect any change in Panama's relations with Taiwan or China.

Monday's diplomatic move could also raise questions about the future of a Chinese-backed project to build another Central American waterway to rival the Panama Canal in Nicaragua.

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Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China