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Focus of Taiwan-China diplomatic contest will change

Friday, July 21, 2017

Subject

Taiwan's 'diplomatic contest' with China.

Significance

Panama announced on June 12 that it was switching diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, reducing the number of Taiwan’s diplomatic partners to 20. Panama is the second country to sever relations with Taipei since Tsai Ing-wen of the China-sceptic Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) became Taiwanese president in May last year. In late December, the small African island state of Sao Tome and Principe also switched recognition.

Impacts

  • Attitudes toward China in Taiwan will harden, but economic necessity will require Taipei to seek some common ground.
  • As the next election approaches in 2020, the government will feel more pressure to be pragmatic towards China.
  • China will be disinclined to cooperate, hoping that the China-friendly opposition will oust the current China-sceptic government.
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