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El Salvador Breaks with Taiwan, Opens Ties with China

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El Salvador has broken off ties with Taiwan and established relations with China.

President Salvador Sanchez Ceren announced the change late Monday in a nationwide address. He said the Central American nation’s decision was made after “careful” study.

Taiwan split from mainland China as part of a civil war in 1949. China still considers self-ruled Taiwan a part of Chinese territory, not an independent state with rights to establish foreign relations. The Chinese government bars countries it has diplomatic relations with from having official ties with Taiwan.

El Salvador is the fifth country to drop Taiwan as a diplomatic ally since 2016. Taiwan currently has official diplomatic ties with just 17 small, developing nations.

In Taipei, President Tsai Ing-wen blamed the decision on China. She promised to keep resisting efforts she said are clearly aimed at further pressuring Taiwan diplomatically.

“We will turn to countries with similar values to fight together against China’s increasingly out-of-control international behavior,” Tsai said.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters Taiwan had not been willing to get involved in a “money competition” with China.

He said El Salvador had repeatedly sought “massive funding support” since last year for a port development. But in the end, Taiwan decided not to assist with the project. Wu said El Salvador’s ruling party had also asked Taiwan to provide money to help it win in elections, but Taiwan refused.

In Beijing, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, said El Salvador had made the right decision.

“I’m confident that the people of El Salvador will feel the warmth and friendship of the Chinese people and derive tangible benefits from its cooperation with China,” Wang told reporters.

The U.S. government expressed concern about El Salvador’s decision to split diplomatically with Taiwan.

U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes wrote in a tweet late Monday the decision was “worrisome for many reasons.” She added that the decision would “without a doubt” affect the U.S. relationship with El Salvador’s government.

I’m Bryan Lynn.

Bryan Lynn adapted this story for VOA Learning English from reports from the Associated Press and Reuters. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

derive v. come from or be developed from something

tangible adj. something real that can be seen, touched or measured

benefit n. something that helps you or provides an advantage

doubt n. feeling of not being sure about something

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