TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwan's flag was hoisted and lowered for the last time yesterday in a closed ceremony at the Taiwan embassy in Panama's capital city of the same name, a day after Panama suddenly announced it was switching diplomatic relations from Taiwan to the communist regime in China.
The ceremony, which began at 10:30 a.m., was not open to the public and was only attended by embassy staff. As the flag was raised, the staff solemnly sang Taiwan's national anthem.
According to a overseas Taiwanese man in Panama, who spoke to CNA, local media outlets have been criticizing the move to sever 107 years of relations with Taiwan in favor of China.
Although the Panamanian government had banned local media from attending the flag ceremony, media outlets still covered the event. Local Panamanian TV station TVN used a drone to film the ceremony, while the international Spanish language news agency EFE filmed the ceremony from the roof of its office next door.
In the EFE video, which was posted on YouTube, embassy staff members can bee seen folding the flag one last time as they fight back tears.
At the ceremony, Taiwan's new ambassador to Panama, Miguel Tsao (曹立傑) reiterated Taiwan's condemnation of of Panama's decision and called for everyone to unite together to face the current challenges, according to an overseas Taiwanese man who attended the ceremony.
After the lowering of the flag and group photos were completed, the 107 years of friendship between Panama and Taiwan formally came to an end.