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Taiwan urges Panama not to become China's tool

ROC Central News Agency

2017/06/22 19:42:32

Taipei, June 22 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday urged Panama not to allow itself to become a tool used by China to isolate Taiwan internationally and said the president of the Central American country had misrepresented the reasons behind the severance of diplomatic links with Taiwan..

The ministry was referring Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela's comments Wednesday in the United States, in which he advised Taiwan officials to stick to the cross-Taiwan Strait "diplomatic truce" established during the administration of former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

Varela said that before Panama severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of China on June 13, it had warned Taiwan that it would take that step if the diplomatic truce across the strait was broken.

However, MOFA said Varela's statement was "absolutely not true" and that he was "unilaterally interpreting" the reasons behind the severance of Taiwan-Panama ties.

China has never stopped its diplomatic offensive against Taiwan, the ministry said, urging Panama not to become a tool for China to achieve its purpose.

On June 13, Varela announced his government's decision to establish official ties with China, making Panama the second country to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016.

The move left Taiwan with only 20 diplomatic allies in the world, 11 of which are in Latin America and the Caribbean.

(By Ku Chuan and Y.F. Low)

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