China, Nicaragua re-establish ties in blow to US, Taiwan

Flags of Taiwan and foreign countries flutter at the Diplomatic Quarter which houses the former Nicaraguan embassy and other foreign embassies, in Taipei, Taiwan December 10, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Sarah Wu

Beijing/Taipei: China and Nicaragua re-established diplomatic ties on Friday after the country broke relations with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, boosting Beijing in a part of the world long considered the United States' backyard and increasing Taipei's isolation.

China has increased military and political pressure on Taiwan to accept its sovereignty claims, drawing anger from the democratically ruled island, which has repeatedly said it would not be bullied and has the right to international participation.

China's Foreign Ministry, announcing the decision after meetings with Nicaragua's finance minister and two of President Daniel Ortega's sons in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin, said the country had made the right decision.

"This is the correct choice that conforms to the general trend and people's aspirations," it said.

The severing of ties was lambasted by Taiwan, which now only has formal relations with 14 countries, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Taiwan's foreign ministry expressed "pain and regret", saying that Ortega had disregarded the friendship between the peoples of Taiwan and Nicaragua. But Taipei was also defiant.

"As a member of the international community, Taiwan has the right to exchange and develop diplomatic relations with other countries," the ministry said.

Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang said China was doing all it could to isolate Taiwan, but said it would not succeed.

"We also see that many countries with the same values of democracy and freedom are paying more and more attention to Taiwan and supporting Taiwan," he told reporters.

The break with Taiwan is a blow to the United States.

It follows months of worsening ties between Ortega and Washington, and came on the day the U.S. State Department said it had applied sanctions to Nestor Moncada Lau, a national security adviser to Ortega, alleging he operates an import and customs fraud scheme to enrich members of Ortega's government.

China says Taiwan is one of its provinces with no right to the trappings of a state, and has stepped up efforts to win away Taiwan's remaining allies, especially in Central America and the Caribbean, with El Salvador and the Dominican Republic going over to Beijing in 2018, and Panama the year before.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.