The Central American country Nicaragua announced on December 10th that it severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan and resumed diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. This development brought another setback to Taiwan’s limited diplomatic space. Regarding Nicaragua’s choice to make this diplomatic turn when the Biden administration held a democracy summit, Taiwan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wu Zhaoxie said that this matter involves changes in the international strategic situation. The democratic camp led by the United States and the authoritarian camp led by China and Russia are undergoing fierce confrontation. Taiwan will stand firmly in the democratic camp.
Fierce struggle between the democratic and authoritarian camps
Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Wu Zhaoxie made his first public speech on the severance of diplomatic relations between Nicaragua and Taiwan during an interview in Taipei on Tuesday (December 14). He said, “In the recent past, we have seen drastic changes in the international situation, including the fierce struggle between the democratic camp led by the United States and the authoritarian camp led by China and Russia.”
Wu Zhaoxie said that Nicaragua’s situation is related to this. “Last month’s election was indeed a sad thing, including arresting all these people who might challenge the authority of the president, or saying that they have disappeared. This situation caused sanctions by the camp headed by the United States. Under this situation, the President of Nicaragua sought out China and Russia.”
Wu Zhaoxie said that in China, people have also seen the same situation, that is, China is excluded when democratic countries hold summits. “China is a goal, and therefore China has chosen this opportunity to target our diplomatic countries.”
He said that at this time, what people saw was “a very complicated background of the international situation. There are changes in the international situation and the strategic situation. Under this situation, we see Nicaragua leave us, and lose a diplomatic country to us. Said it is a sad thing.”
Taiwan should stand in the democratic camp
Regarding China’s “invasion and plundering” of Taiwan’s diplomacy and taking away Taiwan’s diplomatic countries regardless of the feelings of the Taiwan people, Wu Zhaoxie said that he believes that the people of Taiwan will feel the same, and everyone will strongly condemn China. He also said that Taiwan’s political affairs committee member Tang Feng and the representative to the United States can both be invited to attend the democracy summit. They are also one of the few representatives who made public speeches at the summit. This is something that the people of Taiwan are proud of. “We in Taiwan should stand in democracy. camp.”
After Nicaragua broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the US government called on all democracies to expand exchanges with Taiwan. State Department spokesperson Price said in a statement that Taiwan’s relations with diplomatic countries in the Western Hemisphere provide significant economic and security benefits to the citizens of these countries. The United States encourages all countries that cherish democratic institutions, transparency, and the rule of law, and hope to promote the prosperity of their own national economies, to expand exchanges with Taiwan.
U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), Republican of Florida, also tweeted, “This is a shameless move by the evil Ortega regime. Communist China’s growing influence It is the cancer of Latin America. It poses a danger to our entire hemisphere. The United States must oppose this intervention, stand with Taiwan and continue to fight for democracy throughout Latin America.”
The Republican Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee said in a tweet that the Ortega regime’s embrace of China is a regrettable setback for the people of Nicaragua. The United States will continue to support Taiwan in advancing its informal relations with countries around the world. “
Nicaragua’s turn is related to the U.S.-China fight for influence
Stanford University’s Hoover Institution researcher Kharis Templeman said in an interview with VOA that Nicaragua’s diplomatic shift “has little to do with Taiwan, but has a lot to do with the U.S. and China’s struggle for influence in this region. “
Qi Kaili said that the timing of Nicaragua’s diplomatic action “may not be a coincidence. It happened on the same day as Biden’s democratic summit.” He said that neither China nor Nicaragua was invited to the summit, so both countries may see this. The benefits of a diplomatic turn at a time.
“For Nicaragua, obtaining some economic assistance from China is a way to counter the economic and political pressure of the United States. The Ortega regime in Nicaragua has imprisoned most of the opposition and continues to govern through false elections. The United States and European countries have done so. In response to cutting off aid.”
He said that until the severance of diplomatic relations, Taiwan was still in an awkward position to fund the regime with its own aid, including a $100 million loan in 2019.
“After the change in diplomatic recognition, Beijing is now playing that role. I don’t think the people of Taiwan should be frustrated that their tax money is no longer being used to support a Central American dictator.”
Or more countries sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan
Many people are very concerned about whether other countries will follow up after the severance of diplomatic relations between Nicaragua and Taiwan. Qi Kaili believes that this is indeed possible, among which Honduras is the most likely.
He said that among the remaining diplomatic countries with Taiwan in Latin America, Guatemala, Honduras, and Haiti have not been invited to participate in the democratic summit, and the president-elect of Honduras has promised to recognize the People’s Republic of China after taking office.
“The United States may pressure those countries not to change their diplomatic recognition, but the domestic political benefits of scorning the United States and benefiting from China’s generous economic aid may be too tempting.
Although this possible trend is extremely unfavorable to Taiwan, Qi Kaili also pointed out some noteworthy changes, including this summer the United States “successfully coordinated with Taiwan” to prevent Taiwan’s diplomatic relations with Paraguay from turning; and “under the background of US-China competition, The United States now has great strategic interest in those Pacific island countries that have formal relations with Taiwan, including Nauru, Palau, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu. As long as it can focus aid and diplomatic efforts on these countries, Taiwan There will be good results.”
Informal relations are more important to Taiwan
In addition, Qi Kaili agrees with many analysts that Taiwan’s informal relations with many countries are far more important to Taiwan’s security and status in the world than how many countries it has formal relations with. He said that in the past five years, Taiwan has strengthened its relations with the United States, Japan, India, Australia and many European countries. “Those relations are ultimately more important than the competition with the People’s Republic of China for diplomatic recognition of’money diplomacy’. .”
Having said that, it is generally believed that maintaining a certain number of countries with diplomatic relations is of great significance to Taiwan, including the symbolic role of sovereign recognition, the ability to support Taiwan’s entry into international organizations through friendly proposals, and the use of the opportunity to visit friendly countries for overseas diplomatic relations, etc. In the past, when Taiwan leaders visited Latin America or Pacific island countries, they often transited through some major cities in the United States, and measured the temperature of US-Taiwan relations through the courtesy of the United States and transit locations.
In this regard, Qi Kaili said that he was very surprised to lose all diplomatic relations with Taiwan in the Western Hemisphere. At present, Taiwan still has official diplomatic relations in this region, including Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Louis. West Asia, Saint Vincent, and Belize, “I can imagine that one or two of these countries may switch before 2024, but not all countries. So I think that the’transit’ way to visit the United States should be able to last for a while. “
On December 10, Beijing time, on the day when Nicaragua and China resumed diplomatic relations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin welcomed the decision of the Nicaragua government to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan at a regular press conference, and emphasized that Nicaragua is a “community with Taiwan without any prerequisites.” China resumes diplomatic relations”.
Nicaragua Receives Vaccine Donation from China
Regarding the question of whether China will start economic cooperation with Nicaragua or grant Nicaragua economic assistance, Wang Wenbin said that the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua is a political decision, “by no means a bargaining chip.” Nicaragua’s decision to resume diplomatic relations with China “is out of recognition of the one-China principle. It is a political decision without any economic prerequisites.”
The BBC reported on Monday that Nicaragua received 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine donated by China after signing a communiqué on the restoration of diplomatic relations with China.
According to the report, Laureano Ortega, the adviser to the President of Nicaragua, said after returning to Nicaragua on Sunday, “We bring back this good news, that is, we bring back one million doses of donated vaccines for the people of Nicaragua.”
Nicaragua severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which had established diplomatic relations 55 years ago, for the first time in 1985. It was also during Ortegar’s presidency. In 1990, Nicaragua resumed diplomatic relations with Taiwan under President Chamorro. The remaining 14 diplomatic allies are the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Tuvalu, Swadini, Vatican, Belize, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Guatemala, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia And Saint Vincent.