Analysts See China Behind Timing of Nicaragua’s Break with Taiwan

TAPEI —

Analysts say that Nicaragua and China timed their announcements of Managua’s diplomatic break with Taiwan to be “a great gift” from Beijing to Washington on the first day of the U.S. Summit for Democracy.

Nicaragua announced that it was establishing diplomatic relations with China on Thursday, and analysts who spoke with VOA Mandarin said that Nicaragua and China announced their decision to coincide with Taiwan’s presence at the summit, a de facto embrace of democracy at time when Beijing is punishing Taiwan for reinforcing ties with central European countries such as Lithuania.

More than 100 countries attended the summit, including liberal democracies, weaker democracies and even several states with authoritarian characteristics, according to VOA.

Neither Nicaragua nor China were invited to the summit because of their authoritarian governments.

On Thursday, Nicaragua’s government said that it recognized the People’s Republic of China as “the only legitimate government that represents all of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”

Taiwan responded by breaking diplomatic ties with the Central American country and accusing Managua of disregarding a “longstanding and close friendship between the two peoples.”

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said the island will not bend to pressure or change their determination to uphold democracy. “The more successful Taiwan's democracy is, the stronger the international support, and the greater the pressure from the authoritarian camp," she said in response to the announcement.

Since Tsai took office, Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies – mostly small countries in the Pacific, Caribbean, Latin America and southern Africa – have pulled away, leaving it with 14 allies today, down from 21 in 2016.

On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying praised Nicaragua’s move. She said on Twitter that “this is the right choice that is in line with the global trend and has people’s support.”

Source: Voice of America