Panama cuts ties with Taiwan and chooses Beijing

A joint statement signed between Foreign Ministers Wang Yi and Isabel Saint Malo. Beijing's diplomatic war in the throes of economic favors. Taiwan, the only democracy in the Chinese world, is branded as "a rebellious island".

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The state of Panama has decided to cut diplomatic relations with Taipei and establish ties with Beijing. In a televised message, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced the diplomatic move, which rescues diplomatic and commercial relations with the second most important channel client. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart Isabel Saint Malo signed a joint statement last night confirming the step (see photo).

Panama's decision makes Taiwan's position more difficult, only recognized by some twenty states in the world, including the Vatican. Taiwan is the only full democracy in the Chinese world, but Beijing regards the "Republic of China" (the official name of Taiwan) as a "rebel province" and forces all its economic and diplomatic partners to adhere to the principle of "One China", demanding that anyone who has diplomatic relations with China cut off those with Taiwan.

For some time Beijing has launched a diplomatic war against "the rebel island", pushing the various states that recognize Taiwan to abandon it in return for economic favors. Last year Sao Tomé and Prince and the Gambia chose to recognize Beijing.

Beijing's grip on Taipei has become tighter since the presidential victory of Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (Dpp) in 2016. The Dpp is suspected of having independent leanings and Tsai herself, has kept silent on the principle of "One China". Beijing fears that the Chinese continent, inspired by Taiwan and its economic strength, will also demand greater democracy.

According to analysts, the presence of Beijing in Central America reduces the US influence in the region.