El Salvador switches diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China
The government of El Salvador made a surprise announcement yesterday that it was establishing diplomatic relations with the Peoples Republic of China and severing its ties with Taiwan. From Reuters:
El Salvador’s president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, announced in a nationally televised speech that his government had broken off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and instead established ties with China.
Sanchez Ceren said the central American country, which built ties with the Republic of China government in 1933, would see “great benefits” and “extraordinary opportunities” in the new relationship with Beijing....
Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters earlier that Taipei was not willing to engage in “money competition” with its giant neighbor.
He said El Salvador had been continuously asking for “massive funding support” since last year for a port development, but Taiwan was unable to assist with the “unsuitable project” after assessment.
There was no immediate announcement of Chinese financial investment in the port from the Salvadoran government.
This morning Norman Quijano, ARENA leader and president of the National Assembly, tweeted that the rupture of diplomatic ties with Taiwan was the worst decision of a Salvadoran government. He pointed to a suspension of aid from Taiwan as well as potential damage to relations with the US as negative consequences of the decision.
US Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes tweeted that El Salvador's decision was "worrying for many reasons" and "without a doubt" would impact the US relationship with the government of El Salvador. (Apparently the fact that the US has full diplomatic relations with China does not factor into which friends the US allows small Latin American countries to have).
Taiwan has been a significant benefactor to El Salvador since the end of the civil war, and Taiwanese business interests operate many maquila factories in the garment industry in the country. While the diplomatic move could be partly explained by the socialist FMLN government preferring the communist government of mainland China, my guess is that China simply outbid Taiwan.