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Taiwan Ends Diplomatic Ties With Panama

PRESS RELEASE – THE Republic of China (Taiwan) has terminated diplomatic relations with the Republic of Panama with immediate effect (June 13) in order to uphold the sovereignty and dignity of the nation.

The ROC will close its embassy in Panama, recall its technical mission, and end all bilateral cooperation and aid programmes. The ROC government expresses indignation and deep regret over Panama’s unilateral decision to sever diplomatic relations with the ROC and establish ties with the authorities in Beijing.

Following more than a century of diplomatic ties, the government of Panama, led by President Juan Carlos Varela ― disregarding the longstanding bonds of solidarity and friendship between the peoples of the ROC and Panama and the long-term assistance in many areas provided by the ROC in support of Panama’s national development ― caved in to Beijing and decided to switch its diplomatic engagement toward the Beijing authorities for economic gain.

In a highly disrespectful manner, it left the ROC in the dark about its decision until the final moments. The ROC government strongly condemns Panama’s act and reiterates that it will not engage in checkbook diplomacy with the Beijing authorities.

In addition, the ROC government also vigorously protests and condemns the actions of the Beijing authorities, i.e. inducing Panama to break off relations with the ROC, interfering with the ROC diplomatic and international presence and disrespecting the feelings of the Taiwanese people. As a constructive member of the international community, the ROC will remain committed to upholding peace and stability in the region and will continue to promote steadfast diplomacy to expand its international participation and gain the international status it is entitled to.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and all of its diplomats at home and abroad, will not retreat in the face of challenges and instead will work even harder in their firm dedication to safeguarding the national interest and protecting the people’s well-being.

Editor’s Note: The following is the Taiwanese President’s statement (sent in separately) on the termination of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Panama as translated and excerpted from the President’s June 13 remarks in Chinese.

“With regard to the announcement by the Republic of Panama that it is severing diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and is establishing ties with the People’s Republic of China, the Office of the President and other relevant government agencies have already issued responses earlier today (June 13, 2017).

“Following the severance of diplomatic relations between the ROC and Panama, the government will ensure that our country’s global economic deployment is not affected and fully protect the rights and interests of Taiwanese companies and expatriates in Panama. Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stationed in Panama will uphold the national interest to the very end and complete their work there in a dignified manner.

“Although we have lost a diplomatic ally, our refusal to engage in checkbook diplomacy, the fact of the ROC’s existence, and Taiwan’s value and status in the international community will not change.

“The ROC is a sovereign nation. Our sovereignty cannot be challenged, and cannot be traded away. The Beijing authorities have consistently manipulated the “one China principle” to interfere with Taiwan’s international presence and threaten the rights of the Taiwanese people. However, that the Republic of China is a sovereign nation is beyond dispute. This is a fact that the Beijing authorities will never be able to deny.

“The Taiwanese people persistently pursue peace. Taiwan’s existence and its international role serve as cornerstones of regional peace and stability. It would be highly deplorable if Beijing’s erroneous thinking and provocative actions cause a change in cross-strait relations from peace to confrontation.

“I want to take this opportunity to solemnly reiterate to the authorities in Beijing that Taiwan has already fulfilled all of its responsibilities in safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Beijing’s actions have disrupted the status quo. The people of Taiwan cannot accept this, and we will not sit idly by while our national interests are repeatedly threatened and challenged.

“The differences between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait cannot be overcome through suppression and threats. In fact, such actions only serve to widen the gap between people on the two sides. On behalf of the 23 million people of Taiwan, I can say that we will never concede nor cower in the face of threats.”

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