Asia - Pacific

Taiwan slams Nicaragua's 'disgusting' seizure of its former mission

Central American country confiscates Taiwan Embassy assets after cutting diplomatic ties and hands them over to China

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 28.12.2021
Taiwan slams Nicaragua's 'disgusting' seizure of its former mission

ISTANBUL

After severing diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Nicaragua seized its former mission in the capital Managua to hand it and its contents over to China, a move promptly slammed by the island nation's foreign minister.

After President Daniel Ortega ordered Taiwan out, Taiwan sold the embassy to the local Catholic archdiocese for $1 out of “good will,” but Ortega seized the property and will give it to China, said Joseph Wu on Twitter, calling the move “unlawful and utterly disgusting.”

Beijing, however, praised Nicaragua for "respecting China's sovereignty and the one-China principle," under which Taiwan is a part of mainland China, not a separate country.

Nicaragua reestablished diplomatic relations with China earlier this month, leaving Taiwan with 14 diplomatic allies, most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Taiwan issued a protest on Monday of Nicaragua's decision, announced on Sunday night, to "confiscate assets formerly owned by Taiwan in the Central American country and hand them over to China."

The Nicaraguan Attorney General's Office called the donation to the Catholic Church “invalid,” adding that the building “in an upscale Managua neighborhood belongs to China.”

“The attempted donation was a manoeuvre and subterfuge to take what doesn’t belong to them,” it added.

Assets belong to us: China

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry cited Article 45 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

“Nicaragua is required to respect and protect the premises of the mission, together with its property and archives after breaking diplomatic relations with Taiwan,” said the ministry.

“Nicaragua's unlawful confiscation and transfer of Taiwan's former assets to the PRC (China) is unacceptable,” it added.

China's Foreign Ministry said the assets belong to the mainland.

The Ortega government set a two-week time limit for all Taiwanese staff at its embassy and technical mission in the country to leave before Dec. 23, but Taiwan said this was too short, as at least a month’s time was customary.

Taiwan has now lost eight diplomatic allies since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in 2016 – Burkina Faso, Panama, Sao Tome, and Principe, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Nicaragua.

Nicaragua cutting ties may also set a precedent for other countries such as Honduras, which has been mulling a switch to China but faces pressure from the US.

Since Joseph became Taiwan’s top diplomat in 2018, six of Taiwan’s allies have broken ties with the island nation.

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