Dec 9, 2021 - World

Taiwan loses another ally to China

 Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during a meeting with businessmen from Nicaragua and Taiwan in Managua on January 10, 2017.

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech in Managua, Nicaragua, in 2017. Photo: Inti Ocon/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration denounced Nicaragua on Thursday night for switching diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China.

Why it matters: China's government has for the past several years been chipping away at Taiwan's legitimacy on the world stage and attempted to further isolate Taipei by pressuring companies and other countries to stop treating the self-governing island as a sovereign nation.

  • Only 13 countries and the Vatican now recognize Taiwan, compared to 21 at the start of 2017, the New York Times notes.

Driving the news: Nicaragua's foreign ministry issued a statement Thursday declaring China as "the only legitimate government that represents all of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory."

What they're saying: State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in an emailed statement that the Nov. 7 "sham election" win of President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, "did not provide it with any mandate to remove Nicaragua from the family of American democracies."

  • Price said the move deprived Nicaragua's people of "a steadfast partner in its democratic and economic growth."
  • "Taiwan's relationships with diplomatic partners in the Western Hemisphere provide significant economic and security benefits to the citizens of those countries," he added.
"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."
ā€” Ned Price

Meanwhile, Taiwan's government said in response it would continue to promote "pragmatic diplomacy" as it expanded its international space in its attempt to give Taipei its "due international status," per Reuters.

Go deeper: Taiwan officials invited to Biden's "Summit for Democracy"

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