China has opened an embassy in Nicaragua for the first time since 1990, less than a month after the Central American country severed ties with Taiwan.
Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said there was an “ideological affinity” between the two countries and thanked China for donating one million doses of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega established relations with China in 1985, but after losing elections in 1990, Nicaragua recognized Taiwan.
Ortega returned to power in 2007 and was re-elected in November. In December, Nicaragua severed ties with Taiwan and last week seized the island’s former embassy and diplomatic offices, claiming they belonged to China. However, the new Chinese Embassy is located elsewhere and it is unclear what China will do with the Taiwan building.
Before leaving a week ago, Taiwanese diplomats attempted to donate the properties to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Managua. But Ortega’s government said such a donation would be invalid.
Taiwan’s foreign relations ministry condemned the “seriously illegal actions of the Ortega regime”, saying the Nicaraguan government violated standard procedures by giving Taiwanese diplomats only two weeks to leave the country.
He said Taiwan “also condemns the Nicaraguan government’s arbitrary obstruction of the token sale of its property to the Nicaraguan Catholic Church.”
Monsignor Carlos Avilés, the vicar of the Archdiocese of Managua, told La Prensa newspaper that a Taiwanese diplomat had offered the property to the church, but added: “I told him there was no problem, but the transfer was still in the legal process. .”
Nicaragua’s decision to sever ties with Taiwan has increased the island’s diplomatic isolation on the international stage.
The most recent reconnaissance transfers from Taipei to Beijing were made by the Solomon Islands and Kiribati, in September 2019. El Salvador and the Dominican Republic changed in 2018, and Panama in 2017, after which it received waves of Chinese investments.
Only 14 governments, mostly in the Pacific and Latin American regions, maintain formal ties with Taiwan. After Nicaragua, all eyes are now on Honduras and its newly elected president, Xiomara Castro.
With Associated Press