The significance of resumption of China-Nicaragua diplomatic relations
By Rabi Sankar Bosu · 2021-12-23 · Source: China Focus
On December 10, 2021, the Central American country Nicaragua re-established formal diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China following breaking its so-called “diplomatic relations” with Taiwan. Notably, the diplomatic relations between the two countries were suspended in 1990 after Managua switched its official allegiance to Taiwan.
There is no doubt that the restoration of Sino-Nicaraguan diplomatic relations is a powerful rebuff to the U.S. administration’s chess game with China by playing “Taiwan cards” and collusion between Washington and Taipei.
Since Tsai Ing-wen came to office in May 2016, Taiwan has ended up having less space on the world stage. Eight countries including Burkina Faso, the Dominican Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, El Salvador, the Solomon Islands and Kiribati broke off “diplomatic relations” one after another with Tsai Ing-wen administration despite its “dollar diplomacy” for allies.
Now only 14 countries have maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan authorities, mostly small Caribbean and African nations that had very limited economic ties with the Chinese mainland in the past. It is an undeniable fact that, when it comes to economics and politics, “Taiwan is completely useless” to most nations in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Photo taken on Jun. 20, 2019 shows the night view of Taipei, southeast China’s Taiwan (XINHUA)
One-China principle recognized by international community
After signing the joint communique on the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries, Laureano Ortega Murillo, adviser to Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega and a government representative, said that his country recognizes that there is but “one China in the world”, that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory.
It is worth pointing out that the one-China principle is a historical and legal fact which is also a consensus of the international community and a basic norm in international relations. So far, 181 countries around the world have established diplomatic relations with China. It fully testifies to the fact that the one-China principle is the consensus and trend of the international community, no force can stop the unification of China. As Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of China, said, “No individual or force can block the historical trend of China’s complete reunification and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.”
Over the years, many countries across the world have chosen to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan’s authorities and establish or restore diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. It fully demonstrates that they have made the right decision on the current global trend, made the right choice according to their national interests and the wishes of the people, and have stood on the right trend of history.
The right decision for national interests
Undoubtedly, this sovereign decision made by the Nicaraguan government serves the national interests of both China and Nicaraguan. Bismarck Sierro, a sociologist at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, told Xinhua on December 13 that China, a major economy in the world, has become a partner of Nicaragua, which will encourage Nicaraguan manufacturers to export to a huge market like China, and promote bilateral cooperation in culture, education and other areas. It’s heartening to see that China sent 200,000 doses of Sinopharm-made COVID vaccines to Nicaragua on December 13 bearing testimony of the bonds of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
The establishment of diplomatic relations with China will surely bring unprecedented development opportunities for the 6.5 million people of Nicaragua where 50 percent of the population in rural areas live below the poverty line, and 11.5 percent live in extreme poverty (according to The Borgen Project of July 2020). Since tourism is the second largest industry in Nicaragua, the Latin American country stands to benefit from the prospect of more Chinese tourists and likely development assistance from China under the Belt and Road Initiative in social development and infrastructure construction.
Staff members convey Chinese COVID-19 vaccine at an airport in Managua, Nicaragua, on December 12, 2021 (XINHUA)
No one should block China’s reunification
The newly-established diplomatic relations between Nicaragua and China is a heavy blow to Tsai Ing-wen who attended the inauguration of President Daniel Ortega’s fourth term in Managua, on January 9, 2017. Instead of blaming China for its loss of allies, Tsai and her DPP followers should come back to the right path, recognizing the 1992 Consensus which endorses the one-China principle. It is clear who is changing the status quo of cross-strait relations and who lacks sincerity to pursue the path of peaceful development.
On the other hand, Nicaragua’s break with Taiwan has also served a heavy blow to the United States which has been exporting ‘Made in America’ democracy to Latin America and other parts of the world throughout different presidencies in an attempt to ensure that U.S. interests are protected and enhanced. More importantly, Nicaragua’s diplomatic recognition of China came at a time when the U.S. held the ‘so-called’ democracy summit. The U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that the U.S. was deeply disappointed with Nicaragua’s decision to switch recognition to China while raising concerns that tensions between Taiwan and China mainland could disturb the status quo.
The unification of China is a historic trend that cannot be stopped. The peaceful development of cross-Strait relations has been broken due to Tsai Ing-wen’s stubborn refusal to acknowledge the 1992 Consensus which is an important political foundation to maintain stable cross-Strait relations. The current DPP administration must remember that the future of Taiwan must not be shaped by the United States, but by all Chinese people including those in Taiwan. Taiwan’s secessionists and their US patrons must remember that as China ascends and becomes a world power, it has the ability to reunite Taiwan with the rest of the country as it did with Hong Kong in 1997 after 137 years of British colonial rule and Macao in 1999 after over 400 years of Portuguese colonial rule.
No one should underestimate the determination and strong ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity. If the Taiwan authorities continue to depend on America for their “independence agenda” and play with fire, they will face an even greater failure. During his virtual meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on November 16, President Xi Jinping cautioned by stating that “encouraging Taiwanese independence forces are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt.”
The author is an Indian analyst and commentator. He focuses on China’s development, China-India relations and the Belt and Road Initiative.