Nicaragua has broken ties with Taiwan, leaving the island with only 14 international allies, including Saint Lucia – and a greater reliance on the Caribbean for international support.
The Daniel Ortega administration made the surprise announcement on Thursday December 9 through a statement by its Foreign Affairs Ministry stating Nicaragua accepts there is only “One China” — and it’s the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The Central American state – the second poorest in Latin America – established ties with Taiwan in 1994 under the Violetta Chamorra regime which continued under several successive Ortega administrations.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen had visited Managua shortly after being elected in 2016. But after 27 years, ties with Taipei reportedly deteriorated over differences relating to a US $100 million loan from Taiwan.
The decision by Nicaragua has been denounced by the US State Department, however, the new ties have been sealed in Beijing by Ortega’s representative and the China Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi.
In 2016 when President Tsai visited Managua, Taiwan had 21 allies; five years later – and almost halfway into her second term – Taipei now only has 14, with seven more countries having broken ties with it.
With Nicaragua gone, Taiwan now only has ties with Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Holy See (The Vatican), Honduras, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Swaziland and Tuvalu.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean has increased its importance to Taiwan’s diplomatic efforts, with five of the 14 remaining allies (Belize, Haiti, Saint Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent & The Grenadines) being members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and three belonging to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).