Taiwan has lost Nicaragua as a diplomatic-ally after the Central American country said it would officially recognize only China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory.
The Nicaraguan government issued a statement Thursday announcing the change and Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the news Friday morning.
“The Government of the Republic of Nicaragua declares that it recognizes that… in the world there is only one China. The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory,” the Nicaraguan statement read.
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “sadness and regret” and said it would immediately recall its diplomatic staff. The move leaves Taiwan with 14 countries globally that recognize it. The Nicaraguan government is meeting with the Chinese government in the northern city of Tianjin in China on Friday, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
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China has been poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies over the past few years, cutting down on the number of countries that recognize the island as a sovereign nation. China views Taiwan as a part of its territory and is against Taiwan representing itself in global forums or in diplomacy.
The democratic island is self-governed but has little diplomatic recognition on the international stage.