Chinese global bullying continues; Another country snaps ties with Taiwan

Though India does not have formal diplomatic relations with the island nation, the two sides are focusing on trade ties and more people to people contacts.

“Additionally, Nicaragua is also keen on playing a crucial part within the BRI and hopeful of getting more funds for infrastructure development. People from the Ortega administration even used the Chinese-funded Nicaragua Canal project to launder money,” she observes.
“Additionally, Nicaragua is also keen on playing a crucial part within the BRI and hopeful of getting more funds for infrastructure development. People from the Ortega administration even used the Chinese-funded Nicaragua Canal project to launder money,” she observes. (AP Photo)

Under pressure from China, On Friday, Central American nation Nicaragua snapped its diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Thursday. Despite Chinese bullying, other Central American nations that continue to maintain their relations with Taiwan include Guatemala and Honduras.

Why did Nicaragua cut ties with Taiwan?

“For a long time China has been attempting to poach Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and more so since 2016. The suspension of dialogue between Taipei and Beijing led China to further shrink Taiwan’s international space. In the past two years, Taiwan’s increasing popularity and support from several liberal democracies are making China uncomfortable. China is attempting to further isolate Taiwan,” Sana Hashmi, Visiting Fellow at Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation, tells Financial Express Online.

Why is China trying to isolate Taiwan?

According to Ms Hashmi, “Some of these countries need uninterrupted and no-questions asked/no-strings attached money. One, China has deeper pockets. Second, Taiwan’s closeness to the US and its being a robust democracy do not really align with the approaches of countries such as Nicaragua. China’s money, infrastructure development help the regime to keep themselves afloat without answering any questions regarding the domestic situation.”

“Additionally, Nicaragua is also keen on playing a crucial part within the BRI and hopeful of getting more funds for infrastructure development. People from the Ortega administration even used the Chinese-funded Nicaragua Canal project to launder money,” she observes.

What impact will it have in the region, especially in Central America?

“This is precarious for Taiwan’s diplomatic interests but there is not much that could be done. Given that the change in government is the critical factor, I don’t think this episode is immediately going to set off a chain reaction. We should wait and see how the situation pans out. However, poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies has been one of the major objectives for China,” she explains.

What about India-Taiwan?

“I don’t see any implication or takeaway for India here apart from the fact that China means to deter Taiwan from forging partnerships. While it cannot do much with countries supporting Taiwan except sending warplanes to Taiwan’s ADIZ or issuing statements, poaching diplomatic allies has been an effective method for China to shrink Taiwan’s international space,” Ms Hashmi says.

Taiwan is also one of the invitee’s to the Summit for Democracy, which has been convened by the US President Joe Biden, an indication that its international standing has improved significantly. And this is important as more and more countries are trying to cut off from China.

Ms Hashmi has tweeted “Under the New Southbound Policy framework of Taiwan, India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia, are important countries.”

And has urged Taiwan to find ways to engage more with the countries in the region and further strengthen its new Southbound Policy.

India-Taiwan Bilateral Relations

Though India does not have formal diplomatic relations with the island nation, the two sides are focusing on trade ties and more people to people contacts.

On India’s relation with Taiwan, earlier this month (Dec 2, 2021), MoS Ministry of External Affairs V Muraleedharan said in Rajya Sabha, “the government promotes and facilitates interactions in areas of investment, trade, culture, tourism, people-to-people exchanges as well as education.”

While replying to a question whether the government is planning to take its diplomatic, trade, economic, and bilateral relationship with Taiwan to a strategic level, the minister said “The policy on Taiwan is clear and focused.”

China-Taiwan

In four decades, China has been putting its might in efforts to isolate the island country and in recent years under President Xi Jinping, it has become more aggressive in its attempts. China has been threatening military action against Taiwan in recent months and in October had sent fighter jets in the airspace of the island nation.

According to reports, on Thursday, from the capital city Managua, Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada announced breaking of ties with Taiwan which was televised.

Which other countries under pressure from China have cut off from Taiwan?

In 2019, countries like Solomon Islands and Kiribati snapped their ties with Taipei. In 2018, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, and Burkina Faso had broken off. Presently, there are around 14 countries from the Caribbean and Pacific as well as the Vatican who have diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

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