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U.S. 'disappointed' in El Salvador's cutting of ties with Taiwan

ROC Central News Agency

2018/08/22 13:54:46

Washington, Aug. 21 (CNA) The U.S. Department of State was disappointed by El Salvador's decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing and will review the United States' relationship with the Central American country, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

"Although we recognize the sovereign right of every country to determine its diplomatic relations, we are deeply disappointed by this decision," the spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Taiwanese media.

"We are reviewing our relationship with El Salvador following this decision."

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs first announced the severing of ties with El Salvador on Tuesday morning, after which El Salvador declared it was cutting ties with Taiwan to establish formal relations with the People's Republic of China.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) attributed the loyalty switch to China's campaign of luring away Taiwan's allies with promises of massive financial assistance and investment.

The State Department spokesperson criticized China's efforts to unilaterally alter the status quo as harmful and said they do not contribute to regional stability.

The U.S. urges Beijing to abstain from coercion that would jeopardize the security or the social or economic system of the people on Taiwan, the spokesperson said.

"Consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act, the United States considers any effort to determine the future of Taiwan by other than peaceful means, including by boycotts or embargoes, of grave concern to the United States," the spokesperson said.

Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said she believed China is concerned that the Donald Trump government is using Taiwan to press Beijing into making concessions in their growing trade quarrel.

China is also worried U.S. support will encourage President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to pursue backing for Taiwan independence, Glaser said.

The U.S. should make clear that its strengthening of relations with Taiwan is nothing but a response to China's military and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan and has nothing to do with the tense trade situation between the United States and China, Glaser advised.

El Salvador is the fifth diplomatic ally to switch its loyalty from Taiwan to China since Tsai of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party took office in May 2016, often because of promises of huge financial assistance packages or loans from Beijing.

The latest cut in ties reduces the number of countries maintaining diplomatic relations with Taiwan to 17.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Elizabeth Hsu)

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