PANAMA CITY The economic potential of establishing diplomatic relations with China is so great that it is likely that Taiwan will lose its allies in Central America and the Caribbean, Panamanian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Luis Miguel Hincapie told EFE during an interview.
One cannot look away knowing what China represents. I would not be surprised if other countries in the region were considering the possibility of opening up to China, Hincapie said.
June 12 marks the first year since Panama decided to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognize the one-China policy, becoming the second Central American country after Costa Rica to establish diplomatic relations with the Asian giant.
The Dominican Republic followed suit on May 1 of this year, reinforcing Chinas position in Latin America and weakening Taiwans, a country that now only has 19 international allies.
The world is moving toward China, I even heard that the Vatican is carrying out negotiations ... Other Central American countries that do not have diplomatic relations with China are waiting to see the results from Panama and the Dominican Republic to make a decision, the deputy minister said.
Taiwan now has 10 allies in Latin America and the Caribbean (Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Lucia and Paraguay), six in Oceania (Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Nauru, Palau and the Marshal Islands), two in Africa (Burkina Faso and Swaziland), and the Vatican in Europe.
Hincapie recognized that negotiations with China were carried out in total secrecy so as to avoid being pressured or boycotted by outside forces.
I think that other countries that wish to establish relations with China will also be forced to carry out the negotiations in this way, the official said.
Asked whether the US government had opposed Panamas decision to establish diplomatic ties with China, Hincapie said that the United States had respected Panamas sovereign decision and they themselves have diplomatic relations with China, so there was no reason to question our countrys sovereign decision.
Hincapie mentioned some of the results of his governments decision to establish diplomatic ties with China, including Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varelas official visit to China in November 2017, 23 cooperation agreements signed during that trip, as well as the establishment of a direct Air China flight between Panama and Beijing.
Hincapie added that trade between the two countries is expected to significantly increase, as negotiations to sign a trade agreement will begin next week.
China is the largest supplier of Panamas Colon Free Trade Zone, which is the largest free port in the Americas, as well as the second largest user of the Panama Canal, just after the United States.
We want China to picture us as the entrance door to the rest of Latin America. We have the canal, ports on two oceans and air connectivity that no one else has, free zones, and many other benefits, he said.
Source : http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2458577&CategoryId=23558