El Salvador could restore diplomatic relations with Taiwan

Vice President Felix Ulloa hints at possibility of reinstating alliance while relationship with China on the rocks

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Felix Ulloa (left) celebrating the victory of President Nayib Bukele (center) in February.

Felix Ulloa (left) celebrating the victory of President Nayib Bukele (center) in February. (By Associated Press)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Vice President of El Salvador Felix Ulloa has said the country would not relinquish the possibility of reinstating diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

In an interview after a conference on Thursday (May 24) at Washington-based think tank the Inter-American Dialogue, Ulloa said El Salvador will carefully consider the direction in which its relationship with China develops. Furthermore, he said it would not rule out restoring diplomatic relations with Taiwan, according to the United Daily News.

The Vice President added that El Salvador’s diplomatic relations are not controlled by the United States, but are conducted in the interest of its own development.

Ulloa addressed the issues of policy change and transparency in the new El Salvador government as part of a dialogue entitled “Mandates for Change: Anticorruption and Latin America’s New Leaders." He accompanied Brazilian Minister of Transparency Wagner de Campos Rosario, Paraguayan Minister of Finance Benigno Lopez, and Dr. Lea Gimenez, who delivered a keynote speech at the event.

Ensuring transparency and accountability are key tasks of the new government, Ulloa said during his speech, meaning comprehensive policy reforms will be carried out. The aim is to increase trust in the government, he said, while simultaneously combating corruption in an effective manner.

El Salvador’s diplomatic relations are determined by the President, Ulloa said in an interview after the dialogue, who has numerous times stated that the country’s potential for development is key to the alliances it pursues.

El Salvador cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 2018, ending a 77-year relationship. The move caused the U.S. to accuse China of meddling in the country’s internal affairs.

Following Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic, El Salvador was the third state to break ties with Taiwan last year, leaving the island nation with 17 official allies.

China was accused of meddling in Latin American politics by El Salvador’s newly-elected president, Nayib Bukele, in February. Bukele has questioned whether El Salvador should retain ties with China, as unease on the matter continues to grow in the country’s domestic environment.