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Panama fails to accept Taiwan ambassador for 4th time: Reports

Panama fails to accept Taiwan ambassador for 4th time: Reports

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Panama failed to invite the new ambassador from Taiwan to present his letter of credence for the fourth time in a row, reports said Saturday.
Relations between the two diplomatic allies have reportedly been frosty since Foreign Minister Timothy Yang met Vice President Juan Carlos Varela during a visit to Guatemala last January, reports said. Varela is a leading member of the Panamanian opposition.
President Ricardo Martinelli met with eleven ambassadors presenting him with their credentials, but Taiwan ambassador Diego Lin Chou had not been invited, even after a wait of five and a half months, reports said. The new alleged snub came despite a ‘friendly reminder’ from Taipei, according to media reports.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said all the new ambassadors received by Martinelli were not based in Panama itself but combined their position with other jobs. It was a tradition for that kind of ambassadors to be accredited before others, a MOFA statement said.
The ministry said it would continue its efforts to have Chou present his credentials, and it hoped this could happen within the near future.
Panamanian newspapers mentioned Taiwan’s absence as headline news, according to the Chinese-language China Times. The ambassadors who presented their letters of credence to Martinelli included representatives of Malaysia, the Philippines, Norway, Sweden, Albania and Georgia, reports said.
Chou took up his posting in the Latin American country on January 12. Taiwan later donated US$6 million (NT$180 million) to a professional training project at the suggestion of Panama’s foreign minister, but without apparent positive results, reports said. The Taiwanese embassy turned out local and international media requests for interviews about the matter in order not to embarrass President Martinelli, according to the China Times.
Taiwan accepted the accreditation of a new Panamanian ambassador to Taipei as a gesture of goodwill, but also let him know it hoped the impasse over his Taiwanese counterpart could soon be resolved, reports said.
Panama is one of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic allies, mostly small or impoverished nations in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific and Africa. Panama holds a special place because of its strategic position on both sides of the Panama Canal.
Taiwan and China have waged a war of words and ‘dollar diplomacy’ to try and convince governments to switch sides, but President Ma Ying-jeou claims this practice has ended because of his ‘flexible diplomacy.’


Updated : 2021-05-15 19:38 GMT+08:00