TAIPEI – Taiwan condemned Panama on Tuesday after it established diplomatic relations with China and cut ties with Taipei, accusing China of using “money diplomacy” to sway the Panamanian government.
Foreign Minister David Lee told a news conference that Taiwan expressed “anger and regret” at Panama’s move, and will sever diplomatic ties with Panama and terminate all cooperation projects.
Lee accused China of using “money diplomacy” to influence Panama in cutting ties with the island nation in favor of closer relations with Beijing, adding that the move amounted to an offense to the Taiwanese people.
He also accused Panama of cheating Taiwan by not telling Taipei about its intention to open ties with Being, calling it “very unfriendly.”
The Presidential Office also held a news conference to denounce Panama and China.
Joseph Wu, secretary-general to the president, said the development would force the Taiwan government to reassess cross-Strait ties.
“Taiwan is willing to help our allies in economic development, but we do not want to join in the race for money diplomacy,” he said, hinting that China had paid huge sums of cash to in an effort to distance Panama from Taiwan.
Panama’s termination of bilateral relations with Taiwan means there are only 20 countries that recognize Taiwan.