(Update: adds China reaction, updates lede, headline)
Beijing/Shanghai/Managua, Dec 10 (EFE).- China on Thursday announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with Nicaragua after the Central American country broke off its longstanding ties with Taiwan.
In doing so, Managua switched allegiance to Beijing, aligning with its “one China” policy and leaving Taipei with just 14 formal allies.
China and Nicaragua “have decided to recognize each other and resume diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“The Government of Nicaragua recognizes and commits to abide by the one-China principle, severs the so-called ‘diplomatic relations’ with Taiwan, resumes diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and undertakes that it shall no longer develop any official relations or official exchanges with Taiwan,” it added.
“This is the right choice that is in line with the global trend and has people’s support. China highly appreciates this decision.”
The official announcement came after state Xinhua news agency published a brief note signaling the resumption of ties and after it was revealed that delegations from both countries were meeting in the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, about 200 kilometers from Beijing.
Images released by state media showed Nicaraguan Presidential Advisor for Investments, Trade and International Cooperation Laureano Ortega Murillo, who is also son of President Daniel Ortega and Vice-President Rosario Murillo, as the main Nicaraguan envoy at the meeting.
The announcement in China came not long after Nicaragua’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Denis Moncada in a statement that “the Government of the Republic of Nicaragua today breaks diplomatic relations with Taiwan and ceases to have any contact or official relationship.”
Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, has been governed autonomously since 1949, however Beijing claims sovereignty of it through its “one China” policy. It considers the island a rebel province of the mainland, with which it vows reunification and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve this.
“The Government of the Republic of Nicaragua declares that it recognizes that in the world there is only one single China,” said Moncada.
“The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”
China does not allow countries to hold diplomatic ties with both Beijing and Taipei, and over the years has chipped away at Taipei’s diplomatic alliances.
Nicaragua had been one of 15 countries that recognized Taiwan as an independent state.
In response to the announcement, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a “solemn” statement.
“Taiwan deeply regrets that the Ortega government has decided to disregard the long-standing and close friendship between the people of Taiwan and Nicaragua,” it said.
“To safeguard national sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan has decided to terminate diplomatic relations with the Nicaragua with immediate effect, end all bilateral cooperation projects and aid programs, and recall staff of its Embassy and Technical Mission in Nicaragua.”
Taiwan has been the most important bilateral donor to Nicaragua, a country where it financed 27 projects including in food production, fruit crops and high quality pig farming worth between $30-50 million, according to data from the Nicaraguan government.
Nicaragua, one of the three poorest countries in the Americas, made the decision to recognize China in the midst of its process of exiting the Organization of American States after the body denounced Managua’s recent presidential elections as illegitimate and is looking into its suspension. EFE