Taiwan lost Nicaragua as a diplomatic ally after the Central American country said it would officially recognize only China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory.
“There is only one China,” the Nicaraguan government said in a statement on December 9 announcing the change. “The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”
“As of today, Nicaragua breaks its diplomatic relations with Taiwan and ceases to have any official contact or relationship,” it added.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “sadness and regret” and said it would immediately recall its diplomatic staff. The move leaves Taiwan with 14 countries globally that officially recognize it.
China has been poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies over the past few years, cutting down the number of countries that recognize the democratic, self-governed island as a sovereign nation. China is against Taiwan representing itself in global forums or in diplomacy.
The Nicaraguan government signed an official communique to re-establish diplomatic ties with China in Tianjin on December 10, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV. Under the agreement, Nicaragua promises not to have any official contact with Taiwan going forward.
“This is the right choice that is in line with the global trend and has people’s support. China highly appreciates this decision,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
“We won yet another beautiful battle,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian wrote on his personal Weibo account, while sharing a video of Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada Colindres reading the statement saying that Taiwan is an “inalienable” part of China.