Nicaragua seizes former Taiwanese embassy and gives it to China
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MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – The Nicaraguan government has seized the former Taiwanese embassy and diplomatic offices, claiming they belong to China.
President Daniel Ortega’s government severed relations with Taiwan this month, saying it would only recognize the mainland government.
Before leaving, Taiwanese diplomats attempted to donate the properties to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Managua.
But Ortega’s government said on Sunday evening that such a donation would be invalid and that the building in an upscale neighborhood of Managua belonged to China.
The attorney general’s office said in a statement that the attempted donation was a “ploy and subterfuge to take what is not theirs.”
Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry condemned the “seriously illegal actions of the Ortega regime,” saying the Nicaraguan government violated standard procedures by giving Taiwanese diplomats only two weeks to leave the country.
He said Taiwan “also condemns the Nicaraguan government’s arbitrary obstruction of the symbolic sale of its property to the Nicaraguan Catholic Church.”
Mgr. Carlos Avilés, vicar of the archdiocese of Managua, told La Prensa newspaper that a Taiwanese diplomat offered the property to the church, saying: “I told him there was no problem, but the transfer was still undergoing legal proceedings.
The Central American country said in early December that it would only officially recognize China, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory.
“There is only one China,” the Nicaraguan government said in a statement announcing the change. “The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory. “
The move increased Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation on the international stage, even as the island stepped up official exchanges with countries like Lithuania and Slovakia, which do not officially recognize Taiwan as a country. Today, Taiwan still has 14 official diplomatic allies.
China has poached Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in recent years, reducing the number of countries that recognize the democratic island as a sovereign nation. China is against Taiwan, which represents itself in world forums or in diplomacy. The Solomon Islands chose to recognize China in 2019, cutting diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Taiwan is touting itself as a defender of democracy, while Ortega was re-elected in November in what the White House called a “pantomime election.”
“The arbitrary imprisonment of nearly 40 opposition figures since May, including seven potential presidential candidates, and the blocking of political party participation rigged the results well before election day,” the president said American Joe Biden in a November statement.
Nicaragua established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in the 1990s, when President Violeta Chamorro took power after defeating Ortega’s Sandinista movement at the polls. Ortega, who was re-elected to power in 2007, had so far maintained relations with Taipei.
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