Taiwan Loses Central American Parliamentary Status to China Amidst Diplomatic Shifts
Taiwan, a close friend and ally of Belize, is facing some challenges as several countries have registered their preference for mainland China. The most recent move against the island is the cancellation of Taiwan’s status as a permanent observer in the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN). On Monday, PARLACEN passed a resolution for the cancellation, and accepted China as a replacement. The Central American Parliament is made up of representatives from Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. Regional news reports indicate that the resolution was pushed by Nicaraguan lawmakers who insisted that the representatives recognize Beijing as the “legitimate representative of the Chinese people.” This motion was approved by the majority of the legislators, who then incorporated the People’s Republic of China as an observer State of PARLACEN. Currently, Belize and Guatemala are Taiwan’s only two remaining diplomatic partners in Central America after Honduras severed ties with Taipei on March 26. The Central American countries that broke relations with Taiwan in favor of China are Costa Rica (2007), Panama (2017), El Salvador (2018), Nicaragua (2021), and Honduras (2023). Responding to the recent decision is Belize’s President of its Senate, Carolyn Trench-Sandiford. In a statement issued today, the President noted, as a member of the Formosa Club, that the move was a harsh decision, and is very concerning. She further noted that for Belize, Taiwan has been and will continue to be a valuable partner in development. Her statement furthered by stating, quote, “Throughout the years, through regional and bilateral cooperation projects, Taiwan has helped to promote democracy, good governance and the overall welfare of the people of the region. Their efforts have been unparalleled in complementing our region’s development. The National Assembly of Belize and the Belizean people express its solidarity and friendship with the Government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan).” End of quote.