Attacking legitimacy of his government, Washington says President Ortega’s actions do not reflect will of Nicaraguan people.
ISTANBUL (AA) – The US has expressed disappointment over Nicaragua’s decision to resume diplomatic ties with China, a move that brought down self-ruled Taiwan’s allies to 14.
The US State Department said President Daniel Ortega’s government “did not have the mandate to remove Nicaragua from the family of American democracies.”
“Without the mandate that comes with a free and fair election, Ortega’s actions cannot reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people, who continue to struggle for democracy and the ability to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” said department spokesperson Ned Price.
He termed the Nov. 7 elections in the Central American country of some 6.6 million a “sham.”
“Taiwan’s relationships with diplomatic partners in the Western Hemisphere provide significant economic and security benefits to the citizens of those countries. We encourage all countries that value democratic institutions, transparency, the rule of law, and promoting economic prosperity for their citizens to expand engagement with Taiwan,” Price said.
China, meanwhile, asserted that it was moving forward for friendly relations with Nicaragua “on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.”
Taiwan said it “deeply regrets” Nicaragua’s decision and announced it was immediately cutting ties with the Central American state.
“To safeguard national sovereignty and dignity, Taiwan has decided to terminate diplomatic relations with Nicaragua with immediate effect, end all bilateral cooperation projects and aid programs, and recall staff of its Embassy and Technical Mission in Nicaragua,” Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said in a 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.”
Nicaragua’s move leaves Taiwan with 14 diplomatic allies, most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean.
It may also set a precedent for other countries such as Honduras, which has been mulling a switch to China but faces pressure from the US.
Taiwan has now lost eight diplomatic allies since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 – Burkina Faso, Panama, Sao Tome and Principe, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Nicaragua.