Panama President asks US to respect its decision to cut ties with Taiwan

A statement from President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela followed the decision of the Trump admin. to recall top US diplomats from 3 Central American Countries

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File Photo: Juan Carlos Varela

File Photo: Juan Carlos Varela (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In a statement made on Sunday Sept. 9, the President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela asked the United States to respect the decision of his country’s government to recognize the government of China and abandon diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The statement followed the decision of the United States to recall its envoys from three Central American countries, including El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Panama on Friday, Sept. 7 over the issue of breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The United States has made it clear that following the rupture of ties between El Salvador and Taiwan in August, that Taiwan’s diplomatic relations and conversely, Chinese influence in Central America are serious concerns of the Trump administration.

AFP quoted the Panamanian President’s statement as saying “We respect the sovereign decisions of other countries and we will always ask the same respect for ours.”

Varela insisted that Panama and the U.S. would continue to work together to “in the fight against crime, drug trafficking and terrorism” while also continuing to cooperation in order to promote democracy and protect freedom in the region and throughout the world.

A recent statement from former AIT director Richard Bush suggests that Washington may have recalled the three diplomats in order to “tilt the scale in Taiwan’s favor.”

Other suggest the U.S. may be re-examining its own “One China Policy” and may have recalled the Central American envoys for consultations on the character of Chinese influence towards its newly established allies in the region.

Several U.S. Senators have suggested that U.S. should consider withholding aid from El Salvador following the break with Taiwan.

Four U.S. Senators last week introduced the “Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI) Act of 2018” to strengthen Taiwan’s diplomatic standing internationally, and to encourage Taiwan’s existing allies to maintain their ties.

The President of Panama may be expressing concern that his country may soon face increased scrutiny after establishing official ties with Beijing, as the U.S. is very critical of undue Chinese influence in Central America.

Varela said that as a sovereign country, Panama has the right to make its own decisions according to its own interests, according to AFP.