Taiwan says ties with Central American allies remain solid

The Presidential Office said Wednesday that Taiwan's diplomatic relations with four of its Central American allies are solid and the preparations for next week's visit there by President Tsai Ing-wen (???) are going smoothly.

The office was responding to local media reports that Taiwan's diplomatic ties with Honduras and Nicaragua are shaky.

According to the reports, Taiwanese diplomats stationed in Nicaragua have been having difficulty contacting Nicaraguan officials to discuss plans for Tsai's impending visit to attend the inauguration of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on Jan. 10.

The Presidential Office, however, said the news reports were nothing more than speculation and were false.

Taiwan's ties with the four Central American allies are solid and the preparations for Tsai's visit to Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras from Jan. 7-15 are progressing smoothly, the office said.

The trip, Tsai's second overseas tour since she took office in May, has been in the spotlight since Sao Tome and Principe severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan on Dec. 21, leaving Taiwan with 21 allies.

The African country's decision to break diplomatic ties was due mainly to Taiwan's refusal to meet what was described as an unreasonable demand for financial aid, according to Taiwan's foreign ministry officials.

Five days after it severed official relations with Taiwan, Sao Tome and Principe resumed diplomatic ties with China.

There have been concerns that China might lure more of Taiwan's diplomatic allies as relations between the two sides have been strained since Tsai took office in May, mainly because she has refused to heed Beijing's calls to accept the so-called "1992 consensus" as the political foundation for the development of cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang (KMT) government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel