China, El Salvador forge ties

By Deng Xiaoci and Bai Yunyi Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/21 22:58:40

Milestone event shows the way in Central America: observer

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (right) and El Salvador's Foreign Minister Carlos Castaneda lead a toast during a signing ceremony in Beijing on Tuesday establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. Photo: AFP

China and El Salvador signed a joint communiqué in Beijing on Tuesday establishing diplomatic relations, making the Central American country the fifth nation to dump relations with Taiwan since the island's secessionist administration came to power in 2016.

El Salvador is the third Latin American country to sever ties with Taiwan since July 2017, leading Chinese observers to note the milestone not only further isolates the island but also shows an irreversible trend. 

The communiqué was signed by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Salvadorian counterpart Carlos Castaneda, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

El Salvador "recognizes that there is but one China in the world, that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," the communique read.

According to the communiqué, El Salvador severs "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes not to have any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan.

"Adhering to the one-China principle is a universally recognized international norm and the consensus of the international community, as well as the fundamental foundation for China to establish and develop relations with any country," Wang said on Tuesday at the signing ceremony.

"El Salvador now stands with the overwhelming majority of countries in the world by resolutely deciding to recognize and make a commitment to abide by the one-China principle, and to establish diplomatic ties with China without preconditions," Wang noted.

Around the world, 178 countries have established diplomatic ties with China, Wang said.

"El Salvador is a very important country in the Central American region. The Salvadorian government recognizes and promises to commit to the one-China principle, and cut its 'diplomatic ties' with Taiwan, which is the right choice in accordance with the trend, and in the interest of its people. China highly praises the decision," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said during a routine press conference on Tuesday.

Lu also criticized Taiwan's accusation that China is using "dollar diplomacy," saying that establishing ties with China is a decision made by the Salvadorian government based on the acknowledgement of the one-China principle, without any economic preconditions.

Lu called on people in Taiwan to clearly recognize the worldwide trend, and stop seeing all things as related to money.

Li Changhua, former Chinese ambassador to Costa Rica, on Tuesday hailed the establishment of China-El Salvador diplomatic ties as a "milestone event," clearly indicating the international community's increasing opposition to "Taiwan independence," and growing recognition and respect for the one-China principle.

El Salvador's willingness to establish ties with China "will show other countries in the region the way forward," Li noted.

Only four countries in Central America - Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua - continue to shun China and buck the trend by maintaining "diplomatic ties" with the island of Taiwan.

Delicate Timing

El Salvador President Salvador Sanchez Ceren said on his twitter account late Monday that his country has established diplomatic ties with China, leaving only 17 countries worldwide that maintain ties with the island of Taiwan.

Since pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party leader Tsai Ing-wen took office in early 2016, Taiwan has lost five "diplomatic allies."

El Salvador's severing of ties with Taiwan comes just after Tsai finished her trip to Latin America and returned to Taiwan on Monday.

The Taiwan authorities are surely embarrassed by the timing of El Salvador's decision, which is a blow to Tsai's plans of "going aboard" with her unseemly secessionist rhetoric, said Wang Peng, a researcher at the Institute of Latin American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"However, China-El Salvador ties are the fruit produced by years of comprehensive considerations between the two countries," Wang said.

Li agrees, saying El Salvador expressed a strong desire to forge diplomatic ties with China when he was ambassador to Costa Rica and oversaw El Salvadorian affairs from 2009 to 2012.

Wang dismissed Taiwan authorities' accusation that China had created debt problems in El Salvador to pressure the country to sever ties with the island, saying that "there were no large-scale projects between the two before the establishment of ties."

Wang added that "China-El Salvador relations will bring positive outcomes in every aspect, and the two governments are capable of managing and controlling debt."

Posted in: DIPLOMACY

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