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  HOME | Central America

Taiwan, Panama Close Embassies, but Retain Free Trade Agreement

TAIPEI – Taiwan and Panama are set to officially close down their respective embassies on July 12, although the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will remain in force between the two, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Eleanor Wang said Tuesday.

Bilateral cooperation programs and other treaties will also come to an end on Wednesday.

The FTA will remain in force until a new agreement is reached, the spokesperson added.

On June 12, Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela had called off diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) in favor of China.

Although Panama had suggested the two countries set up commercial offices in place of their respective embassies, Taiwan’s economic and trade authorities are yet to decide on the proposal, Wang said.

After Carlos Varela had called off diplomatic ties with Taiwan – allegedly under pressure from China – Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Minister David Lee had told the media that Taiwan, too, was ending diplomatic relations with the Central American country.

Since then, several countries with diplomatic ties to China have asked Taiwan to change the name of its representative offices, and Nigeria asked for it to be shifted from the capital Abuja to the city of Lagos.

China has intensified the diplomatic isolation and military intimidation of Taiwan after Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to declare Taiwan a part of China, came to power in 2016.

 

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