CHINA ATTRACTS ROC ALLIES AS ITS ECONOMY SOARS|中國經濟起飛.巴拿馬欲靠攏 與我關係不穩

Panama's diplomatic relations with Taiwan had been on shaky ground since China's economy took off, and rumors that Panama was planning to establish ties with China started in the Ma administration, but the central American country did not switch recognition then, due to the diplomatic truce across the Strait at the time, but now, some diplomats worry that Panama won't be the last ally to ditch Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen visited Panama last June to attend a ceremony marking the completion of the Panama Canal expansion project. She was there to shore up Panama's ties with Taiwan, but Panama had in fact invited Chinese President Xi Jinping to the ceremony, an invitation China declined. That invitation, in addition to the fact that the first ship to pass through the expanded canal was Chinese, already showed the wavering status of Panama as an ally. Though Panama was the first country to sign a free trade agreement with Taiwan after Taiwan joined the WTO, and the two countries have close trade and shipping ties, Panama had always been considered an uncertain ally. ==CHENG CHIEN-JEN Former Minister of Foreign Affairs== Before 1990, they had said to our ambassador at that time, if you don't give us enough, we'll switch to China. ==OU HUNG-LIEN Fmr. Minister of Foreign Affairs== When I was Minister of Foreign Affairs, I proposed a diplomatic truce. Soon rumors began circulating that Panama wanted to establish ties with Beijing, but was refused. Ou Hung-lien believes that the Ma administration's diplomatic truce, led to Beijing refusing to establish ties with Panama. However, as cross-Strait relations have changed, many former diplomats say that Panama's switch may trigger a domino effect with Taiwan's 20 remaining allies. ==CHENG CHIEN-JEN Former Minister of Foreign Affairs== Half of (our allies) are unstable. About half are relatively stable. If China is determined to take them, it will be difficult for us to stop them. ==YANG CHENG-TA Fmr. Ambassador to Haiti== If Beijing becomes open about welcoming these countries to establish relations with them, a domino effect will begin. In fact, a while ago we have heard that (some allies) are hoping that we will ramp up assistance. The Tsai government has said that this is not a game of spending money, but I think you can just look at their budgets. Ex-diplomats agree that whether other allies switch recognition will depend on China, not the allies themselves, so further developments will depend on how the cross-Strait relationship changes. TRANSLATED BY:JOHN CHEN 翻開過去歷史,在中國經濟起飛之後,巴拿馬和我國的邦交關係一直都是亮起黃燈,尤其蔡總統一上任就特別前往巴拿馬訪問就是要穩固兩國邦誼,事實上過去馬政府時期,就曾傳出巴拿馬想和中國建交,但因為兩岸外交休兵遭到拒絕,如今巴拿馬和我斷交,轉和中國建交,也讓不少前外交官擔心,如果中國有意讓我國外交陷入僵局,我國邦交國數目將可能再度減少。 總統蔡英文去年6月訪問巴拿馬參加運河拓寬工程竣工啟用儀式,要穩固兩國關係,不過當時巴拿馬也邀請中國領導人習近平參加,但沒有獲得回應,加上這項典禮上第一艘通過的貨輪就是中國籍,當時就已顯示出巴拿馬向中國拋媚眼的外交危機。事實上過去前總統馬英九出訪巴拿馬時,也曾經發生降落軍機場時沒有受到軍禮歡迎等等小動作,雖然過去巴拿馬曾是台灣加入WTO後首個簽署FTA的國家,雙方在經貿與海運合作密切,加上兩國邦誼可追溯到清朝時,達到107年,是我國目前建交最久的國家,但巴拿馬卻一直名列我國外交不穩定國家名單上。 ==前外交部長 程建人== (西元)1990年前 他那個時候對我們的宋長志大使 就表示過 你假如給我不夠的話 我要倒過去啊 ==前外交部長 歐鴻鍊== 擔任外交部長 我提出外交休兵 沒多久就傳出來 巴拿馬要跟北京建交 被北京拒絕 歐鴻鍊認為馬政府過去的外交休兵政策,讓有意跟中國建交的巴拿馬遭到中國拒絕,但在兩岸關係改變之下,多位前外交官都認為巴拿馬的斷交,將讓我國剩下的20國邦交國外交關係出現挑戰,甚至可能出現骨牌效應或雪崩式斷交。 ==前外交部長 程建人== 有半數(邦交國)不穩定 大概有半數是相對穩定 假如大陸是存心 要拿他們的話 那我們會非常的吃力 ==前駐海地共和國大使 楊承達== 北京在這個方面 他一鬆口的時候 我歡迎你們來跟我們建交 那這個就會有骨牌效應 其實前一陣子已經開始 就已經聽聞了就是說 (有邦交國)他已經希望我們 增加對他們的幫助 那蔡政府 我想她口口聲聲講說 我們絕對不是什麼金錢遊戲 什麼東西的 那我想我們 去看看預算就知道了 不過後續是否還會有其他邦交國可能和我國斷交?這些前外交官都認為關鍵不在邦交國,而是中國,所以還是要看後續兩岸關係如何變化,目前都還無法判斷。 記者 張志雄 陳立峰 台北報導

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