06/30/2009, 00.00
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Ma Ying-jeou in Central America. Beijing’s reprimand

In Panama, the Taiwanese president will meet representatives of U.S. government and perhaps even Barack Obama. Canceled the visit to Honduras where there has been a coup. The "diplomatic truce" between Beijing and Taipei has economic reasons.
Taipei (AsianNews / Agencies) - Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou departed from Taipei yesterday for a state visit that will take him to visit Panama and Nicaragua, with both of which the island has diplomatic relations. Beijing has sent out warnings because no head of U.S. government (and especially the U.S.) meet with him.

President Ma, on his second trip in a month to the region, was also scheduled to visit Honduras, but because of a state coup that took place June 27th, the trip was shortened to two days.

Tomorrow he will attend swearing-in to office of the new President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli. But soon after he will be in Nicaragua, where will visit with President Daniel Ortega to discuss ongoing technological projects in cooperation with Taiwan. Finally, on the way back to the island, Ma will stop in Honolulu (Hawaii), where he will visit the original home of the Society for the rebirth of China, founded in 1894 by Sun Yat-sen, first President of the Republic of China, considered a "father of the homeland" even in the People’s Republic of China.

His visit to Hawaii has triggered the ire of Beijing because Ma will meet with the governor of U.S. State, Linda Lingle. Over a week ago, Qin Gang, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, expressed his disappointment: "Within the one China principle, recognized internationally, we are strongly opposed to t senior representatives of other nations having official relations with Taiwan. "

China’s warning also applies to Panama, where Ma Ying-jeou will be among dignitaries and presidents attending the ceremony. His staff has not ruled out that he could also meet with U.S. President Barack Obama or other personalities of the U.S. government.

The island of Taiwan - which China claims as a "rebellious province" - is only recognized by 23 nations in the world. Until recently there was a struggle between Beijing and Taipei to deny each other diplomatic recognition. Ever since Ma came to power in May 2008, relations with China have relaxed and there is currently a "diplomatic truce". That truce has also economic reasons: Beijing and Taipei encourage countries to have diplomatic relations with them by promising substantial financial aid packages. But the global economic crisis has led both to take more sober steps.

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