Taiwan to take legal action over seizure of former Nicaragua embassy

Taiwan on Thursday pledged to take legal action against Nicaragua over the latter's confiscation of its former embassy in the Central American country after both sides ended official diplomatic relations earlier this month.

Taiwan condemned the Nicaraguan dictatorial regime for the "unlawful" confiscation of its former diplomatic property, while demanding Nicaragua reverse its action immediately, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a press release.

"Taiwan will pursue appropriate international legal proceedings to protect its diplomatic property and ensure that Nicaragua is held accountable for its internationally wrongful act," it said, without elaborating.

The MOFA announcement came after Nicaraguan media said its government will confiscate Taiwan's former embassy premises in the country which was handed over to the Catholic Church of Nicaragua before Taiwanese staff departed, following the severance of official ties on Dec. 10.

As Nicaragua recognizes there is only "one China" in the world and it is represented by Beijing not Taipei, the Nicaraguan government said the property now belongs to the People's Republic of China (PRC), Nicaragua media La Prensa said in a Monday report.

Taiwan has previously protested to Nicaragua over the decision, saying that it decided to sell its embassy premises to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Managua for the symbolic price of US$1 because the Daniel Ortega government set a two-week time limit for all Taiwanese staff to leave before Dec. 23.

To ensure its assets were properly taken care of, Taiwan's embassy decided to sell its property with both sides sealing the property transfer witnessed by a local lawyer on Dec. 22, according to MOFA.

MOFA said Thursday that the premises and property of the former Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Nicaragua are diplomatic assets legally procured by the Taiwan government from 1990 and onward.

Citing Article 45 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, MOFA said Nicaragua should honor its obligations under international law and protect the premises and property of the embassy following the termination of diplomatic relations.

However, instead of doing so the Nicaragua side first refused to accept an agreement Taiwan reached with a third country to entrust the custody of its former embassy premises to the latter, the MOFA press release said.

The rejection was made in violation of international conventions, it said, adding that due to extreme time constraints, Taiwan decided to symbolically sell its embassy premises to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Managua.

MOFA stressed the unlawful behavior by both Beijing and Ortega's regime in seizing and encroaching upon property that Taiwan had already sold to the Catholic Church in Nicaragua "cannot be tolerated under the rules-based international legal order and will undoubtedly be met with disdain in the civilized world."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel