Taiwan loses El Salvador | Top News | SupChina

Taiwan loses El Salvador

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Beijing counted another small victory in its decades-long endeavor to box Taiwan out of international space when yet another country broke diplomatic ties with the island in favor of the PRC: El Salvador.

  • El Salvador’s president, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, said in a televised address, “We are convinced this is a step in the right direction that corresponds to the principles of international law, of international relations and the inevitable trends of our time,” the Guardian reports.
  • Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu, said that the real issue was that “El Salvador had asked Taiwan to provide an ‘astronomical sum’ in financial aid for a port project that officials believed would leave both countries in debt,” according to the Guardian.
  • A tweeted statement from Taiwan’s foreign ministry, initialed JW for Joseph Wu, further argued: “As a responsible member of the global community, Taiwan will not engage in dollar nor debt-trap diplomacy. This is why El Salvador’s repeated requests for assistance with an unfeasible port development were declined.”
  • Opposition lawmakers in El Salvador indicated there was another controversy that led to the decision to break ties: “the government of the FMLN (Sanchez Ceren’s political party) asked [Taiwan] for money to finance the campaign in 2019,” one lawmaker said, a claim that a government spokesperson said was “totally false,” AP reports.
  • Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen also weighed in: “We will turn to countries with similar values to fight together against China’s increasingly out-of-control international behavior” (Reuters).
  • “El Salvador is the fifth country Taiwan will lose as a diplomatic ally since Tsai came to office in 2016, following Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe and Panama,” Reuters notes.
  • But Taipei-based reporter Chris Horton, who covered the news for the New York Times (paywall), pointed out on Twitter: “Always worth restating that Taiwan’s unofficial allies, including the US and Japan are vastly more important than any remaining official diplomatic relationships.”
Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

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