PANAMA CITY – Taiwan announced on Tuesday that it will withdraw all its embassy staff and its technical mission from Panama, while suspending all its programs of assistance and bilateral cooperation, after the Central American country established diplomatic relations with China.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the government of the East Asian island, considered a rebel province by China, expressed its “deep sorrow and indignation” about Panama’s “unilateral” decision, and for that reason is ending diplomatic relations with that country.
“The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has decided to end diplomatic relations with the Republic of Panama on June 13, with immediate effect, in order to preserve its sovereignty and national dignity,” said the official message.
Meanwhile, following its new diplomatic relations with Panama, China has offered to receive and subsidize all the Panamanian students currently studying in Taiwan on scholarships provided by the island’s government, the Panamanian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
According to Taiwan’s official figures, there are 78 Panamanian students in Taiwan on university scholarships, while another 15 have been accepted for university programs there and were waiting to travel to the island.
The Taiwanese government recalled on Monday that relations with Panama were established in 1909 and that it has collaborated with Panamanian development in various fields, among which is a $72 million non-refundable cooperation agreement for the 2014-2019 period.
The unilateral breaking of relations with Panama diminishes the island’s influence in Latin America and the Caribbean, where it has one of its main diplomatic strongholds, and is now allied with 11 of its 20 countries.