China reasserts hard line on Taiwan after Panama's switch

Panama’s Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing after the two countries restored diplomatic ties

Diplomatic Victory for China as Panama Ditches Taiwan

The first signs of tension between Nigeria and Taiwan emerged earlier this year, when the issue of the office's name came up around the time of a visit by China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) to the African country. News broke today that Panama has severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan and switched over to China.

China is reasserting its hard line on Taiwan following Panama's switching of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

The new tension came just hours after a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Nigeria was one of five countries where Taiwanese offices faced pressure to change their name, and a day after the sudden ending to more than 100 years of relations with Panama.

A joint statement carried by Xinhua and posted on the Panamanian president's website said the Panama government recognizes that there is "only one China" and that Taiwan is "an inalienable part of Chinese territory". He added that China constitutes 20 percent of the world's population, has the second-biggest economy and is the second-biggest user of the Panama Canal.

The announcement comes after Beijing began construction last week of a container port, with natural gas facilities, in Panama's northern province of Colon.

Panama is the latest country to cut ties with Taiwan.

The Chinese government has renewed a battle for diplomatic allies by aligning the tiny African nation of Sao Tome and Principe in December, hampering Taiwan's participation in global forums and slashing the number of Chinese tourists that visit Taiwan.

Stressing that China has more and more friends now, Lu said there is "no way out" for Taiwan to refuse to accept the 1992 Consensus.

But relations have deteriorated since President Tsai Ing-wen's China-sceptic Democratic Progressive Party was swept to power in a landslide election victory previous year.

Cross-strait tensions have been further exacerbated by a highly unusual call from Tsai to congratulate then US President-elect Donald Trump, who questioned Washington's policy towards the island, including its decision to not formally recognise its government.

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