Panama cuts formal ties with Taiwan in favour of China
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Joint statement between President Juan Carlos Varela and Beijing says ‘Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory’. Panama has switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, handing a huge victory to Beijing in its drive to isolate the self-governing island it claims as its own territory. Panama’s president, Juan Carlos Varela, announced the change – which entails breaking off formal relations with Taiwan – in a televised address, saying it represented the “correct path for our country”.

A joint statement released on Monday evening said Panama and China were recognizing each other and establishing ambassadorial-level relations the same day.

“The government of the republic of Panama recognises that there is but one China in the world, that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory,” the statement read.

“The government of the Republic of Panama severs ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan as of this day and undertakes not to have any more official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan.”

Panama had been among the largest economies to have maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan. The island now has just 20 formal diplomatic partners, 12 of which are in Latin America and the Caribbean. The island is also excluded, at China’s insistence, from the United Nations and many other multinational bodies.

China and Taiwan split during civil war in 1949.