US recalls 3 Central America envoys over Taiwan diplomatic tie cuts

US Government recalls diplomats from Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama over Taiwan recognition

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(By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The U.S. Government has recalled its top envoys from Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Panama over these Central American states switching diplomatic allegiances from Taiwan to China.

The U.S. State Department said in a statement that it had called its three ambassadors to return to Washington "for consultations related to recent decisions to no longer recognize Taiwan."

All three Central American states switched formal relations in recent months, with El Salvador switching in August 2018, Dominican Republic in May 2018, and Panama in June 2017.

Some media reports suggest that loans, development projects, and other preferential treatment from Beijing had enticed these states away from Taiwan. The White House said last month in relation to El Salvador's switch that "China's economic inducements facilitate economic dependency and domination, not partnership."

U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Robin Bernstein, Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes, and Charge d'Affaires in Panama Roxanne Cabral were recalled "to discuss ways in which the United States can support strong, independent, democratic institutions and economies throughout Central America and the Caribbean," the statement said.

The recall comes after a group of U.S. lawmakers introduced a Senate bill "to express United States support for Taiwan's diplomatic alliances around the world" days earlier.

The expected nominees to be the next U.S. ambassadors to Nicaragua and Honduras pledged to support Taiwan's diplomatic place in the region last month.