Panama switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China

A joint statement Monday evening says Panama and China are recognizing each other and establishing ambassador-level relations as of the same day.

By: AP | Panama City | Published:June 13, 2017 7:43 am
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen listens with her counterpart Panama’s Juan Carlos Varela. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso/File Photo

Panama has switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China after a century of having only commercial relations with the Asian giant. Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela announced the change, which entails breaking off formal relations with Taiwan. Varela said in a televised address that it is the “correct path for our country.”

A joint statement Monday evening says Panama and China are recognizing each other and establishing ambassador-level relations as of the same day. It adds that Panama recognizes only one legitimate China and that Taiwan “forms an inalienable part of Chinese territory.” China is the second-biggest client of the Panama Canal and the leading provider of merchandise to a free-commerce zone in the Caribbean city of Colon.

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