China's El-Salvador snatch changes status quo: AIT

US representative office in Taiwan says China’s efforts to unilaterally change status quo is detrimental to regional stability

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Host of national flags in Taiwan's MOFA, August 21.

Host of national flags in Taiwan's MOFA, August 21. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – China's recent efforts to take away Taiwan's diplomatic allies alters the status quo and is detrimental to regional security, American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) spokesperson Amanda Mansour said on August 21, reported CNA.

When asked about El Salvador's moves to switch ties from Taiwan to China, which led to Taiwan to preemptively dump the central American country, Mansour said "China's efforts to unilaterally alter the status quo are harmful and do not contribute to regional stability," reported CNA.

Taiwan announced on August 21 that it will sever diplomatic ties with El Salvador, after Taiwan refused to foot the bill for the Port of La Union project and the upcoming presidential election, scheduled for February 2019. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) described the size of economic support request by El Salvador as being "astronomical.”

Mansour said China's efforts to lure Taiwan's diplomatic allies, which led five countries to switch ties since May 2016, "undermine the framework that has enabled peace, stability and development for decades."

"The United States urges China to abstain from coercion that would jeopardize the security, or the social or economic system, of the people of Taiwan,"

Mansour said Taiwan is a "democratic success story, a reliable partner, and force for good in the world," adding that the U.S. will continue to support Taiwan as part of the U.S.'s "already significant contributions to addressing global challenges."

El Salvador's Presidential Spokesperson Robterto Lorenzana, confirmed the economic basis of the switch, saying that investment and economic development were key forces behind the move, reported Reuters.

China is currently on a spending and investment spree across the globe, which has raised concerns among governments and analysts, who worry that China is handing out loans that governments cannot repay. A report prepared by academics at Harvard University for the U.S. State Department suggested that China's international lending has the potential for China to strategically leverage debt to gain influence across the globe.

The report argues that China has given loans to 16 countries who cannot afford to repay them, giving China additionally clout across the globe, leading to some academics to describe China's actions as "debt trap diplomacy."