1216: Taiwan’s Loss of Diplomatic Ally Nicaragua to China, Abe’s and Busby’s Remarks on Taiwan’s Democracy and Security

Taiwan Loses Diplomatic Ally Nicaragua to China Amid Rivalry Between Democracy and Authoritarianism

Nicaragua’s sudden decision to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China last week was likely made by Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega as part of a geopolitical rivalry between democratic and authoritarian regimes, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said.

On December 9, Nicaragua’s Foreign Ministry announced that Nicaragua was breaking diplomatic relations and would no longer have any official contact with Taiwan. Describing Taiwan as an “inalienable part of Chinese territory,” the ministry said it “recognizes that there is only one China in the world.”

In a statement on December 9, U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price condemned Nicaragua’s breaking of diplomatic ties with Taiwan, while encouraging all democratic countries to expand engagement with Taiwan. Price said Ortega’s actions cannot reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people due to the “sham election” on November 7 that did not provide it with any mandate to remove Nicaragua from the family of American democracies.

On December 14, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said that the intensifying conflict between the United States-led democratic camp and the China-Russia-led authoritarian camp in recent years was the main reason for Taiwan’s loss of diplomatic relations with Nicaragua.

The U.S. and other allies had announced a series of sanctions on Nicaragua following Ortega’s controversial re-election. And that was probably why Ortega had decided to ally Nicaragua with China and Russia and end ties with Taiwan, Wu said.

The timing for announcing the diplomatic switch was also carefully chosen as it was the first day of the U.S.-held “Summit for Democracy” in which Taiwan, instead of China, had been invited to attend, Wu added.

This brings the number of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies down to 14. Since 2016 when President Tsai Ing-wen came into office, Taiwan has lost eight diplomatic allies, including: Burkina Faso, Panama, Sao Tome and Principe, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and now Nicaragua.

To counter China’s growing efforts to isolate Taiwan from the international community and its bogus claim of sovereignty over Taiwan, the bipartisan “Taiwan International Solidarity Act” (H.R.2646) was earlier introduced in the House of Representatives on April 19. The bill currently enjoys the co-sponsorship of 30 Representatives.

The Act stipulates that the U.S. opposes “any initiative that seeks to change Taiwan’s status without the consent of the people” and rejects China’s attempts to distort the UNGA Resolution 2758 to claim that Taiwan is part of China, and to poach Taiwan’s allies and exclude Taiwan from international organizations.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202112140008
[2] Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/nicaragua-taiwan-china/2021/12/09/741098d8-5954-11ec-8396-5552bef55c3c_story.html
[3] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202112100009

Ex-Japanese PM Abe, U.S. Official Praise Taiwan’s Democracy, While Urging Closer Cooperation between Japan, U.S. and Taiwan

During a security forum in Taipei on December 14, Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and a senior official of the U.S. Department of State, Scott Busby, praised Taiwan’s democratic achievements while calling for closer cooperation between their respective countries and Taiwan.

In his keynote speech made virtually during the 2021 Taiwan-U.S.-Japan Trilateral Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue, Abe congratulated Taiwan’s people for the country’s successful transformation from a one-party state to a democratic one in just several decades.

“For the future generations, Taiwan, United States, and Japan have one common, important agenda — that is to never ever lose our faith, in freedoms, in human rights, in the rule of law,” he said.

Regarding China’s growing threat toward Taiwan, Abe said it also poses dire challenges to the U.S. and Japan. He then called for the U.S., Japan and Taiwan to jointly build up military capabilities in all domains, from the undersea, sea surface, air space to the cyber and outer space.

Abe also reiterated his personal support for Taiwan’s bid to join the Japan-led trade bloc, the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership” (CPTPP).

“I am proud that Taiwan will become a stronger guardian of our common values and it will be in the best interest of Japan, the United States, and indeed, the entire world,” Abe concluded.

In his virtual speech, Busby, Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the U.S. Department of State, lauded Taiwan’s journey to democracy as a “wonderful story” to share with the world.

“It is remarkable how far Taiwan has come in less than 30 years from that time (during its previous authoritarian rule), showing the world how to build and sustain a democratic society. It shows that democracy can thrive in Asia, despite some who claim to the contrary,” he said.

Taiwan’s participation in last week’s “Summit for Democracy” hosted by President Joe Biden was strong evidence of Taiwan’s leading role in this regard, he said.

The U.S. will continue to strengthen cooperation with Taiwan in addressing global challenges, deepening economic and trade ties, building the resilience of supply chains, and combating the COVID 19 pandemic, among other areas, Busby concluded.

[1] Focus Taiwan: https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202112140011
[2] Taipei Times: https://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2021/12/15/2003769630