Taiwan severs diplomatic ties with El Salvador 

First time current administration has severed ties with ally before ally officially announced switch of recognition to China

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Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announces on August 21 that Taiwan will sever diplomatic relations with El Salvador

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announces on August 21 that Taiwan will sever diplomatic relations with El Salvador (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday Taiwan will sever diplomatic relations with El Salvador, after learning that the Central American nation is preparing to establish ties with China.

In a press conference held just a day after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) returned from her Latin America trip, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) announced the government’s decision to terminate 85 years of diplomatic relations with El Salvador. 

This marks the first time the current administration made the call to ditch its ally before the ally officially announced it would switch ties to China. Wu said the country will also terminate all the cooperative projects and remove the embassy in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador.

Wu defended the administration’s decision by saying that the government of El Salvador and its governing party had demanded the Taiwanese government to fund the development project of the Port of La Union and campaigns for the presidential election scheduled in February, 2019.

Wu said the amount of money asked by the El Salvadorian government was “tremendous” and that the Taiwanese government “was not willing and was not likely to consent.”  

With the severing of ties with El Salvador, Taiwan has now lost three allies in four months, following the rupture of formal relations with Dominican Republic and Burkina Faso in May. It is now left with 17 diplomatic allies, including the Vatican.