Taiwan expresses ‘great regret’ at move which leaves it having formal ties with only 14 countries.
Nicaragua has broken off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, leaving the East Asian democracy with just 14 allies due to ongoing pressure from China.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said early on Friday that they “deeply regretted” the decision of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega to “disregard the friendship” of the Taiwanese people.
Taiwan also said that it was breaking off relations with Nicaragua, although the decision is widely seen as unilateral by Nicaragua.
Formally known as the Republic of China, Taiwan represented China at the United Nations from the end of World War II until the early 1970s.
Its government fled to the island at the end of the Chinese Civil War.
Since the 2000s, China has steadily chipped away at Taiwan’s remaining allies who are mostly small countries in the Caribbean, South America and the Pacific Islands as well as the Holy See.
Kiribati and the Solomon Islands in the Pacific were the last country to break with Taiwan in 2019.
The Chinese Communist Party has long vowed to unify Taiwan and the Chinese mainland whether by force or through peaceful methods.
The last time both sides came close to military conflict was during the 1950s on Taiwan’s outlying island, but Beijing also fired missiles in the direction of Taiwan ahead of its first democratic election in 1996.
Beijing has also used other methods to isolate Taiwan – from putting pressure on international organisations like the UN to exclude it as an observer to regularly sending military airplanes in its air zone.
Taiwan still formally claims mainland China in its constitution but it has largely moved away from that position since its democratic transition.
Conservative members of the Kuomintang, one of Taiwan’s two major political parties, however, still formally hope to one day unify with China.