PARLACEN expels Taiwan in favor of China

The Central American Parliament on Monday decided to expel Taiwan and appoint China permanent observer status. Photo courtesy of Central American Parliament/Facebook
The Central American Parliament on Monday decided to expel Taiwan and appoint China permanent observer status. Photo courtesy of Central American Parliament/Facebook

Aug. 22 (UPI) -- A Central American parliamentary body has canceled Taiwan's permanent observer state status in favor of awarding the position to China, sparking outrage from Taipei and U.S. lawmakers while attracting praise from Beijing.

The Central American Parliament, which goes by the acronym PARLACEN, said in a statement that its plenary on Monday approved China's ascension via a majority of votes to Observer State of the Body following a request made by Nicaragua to expel Taiwan.


In its explanation, PARLACEN said the government of Nicaragua -- which is being led by the widely discredited President Daniel Ortega -- argued that Taiwan lacks recognition as a sovereign state before the United Nations and therefore its observer status "is illegitimate."

PARLACEN pointed to the Oct. 25, 1971, U.N. General Assembly vote to admit China and appoint it one of five permanent members of the Security Council.


Taiwan has also sought for years to achieve U.N. membership status -- an effort that has been stonewalled by China, which views the self-governing island as a wayward province that it has vowed to take back by force if necessary.

The island has also become a growing source of tension between the United States, which is actively deepening its relations with Taipei, and China, which is seeking to expand its influence in the region and across the globe.

Of PARLACEN's six-member nations, Guatemala is the only one that recognize's Taiwan as a sovereign state. Honduras had viewed Taiwan in the same light until late March when it severed ties with Taipei and recognized the "one China" policy.

In late 2021, Nicaragua allied with China over Taiwan, as did the Dominican Republic in 2018.

China refuses to maintain diplomatic relations with nations that recognize Taiwan.

According to the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations think tank, China has sought to grow its influence in Latin America, with its effort to isolate Taiwan being one of the reasons behind this push.

China "welcomes" its appointment of permanent observer status at the PARLACEN, which it recognizes as "the unstoppable trend of the times" of acceptance of its one China policy, Beijing's foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Tuesday during a press conference.


"China stands ready to develop friendly cooperation with the Central American Parliament on the basis of the one China principle," he said.

Taiwan, which has maintained permanent PARLACEN observer status since 1999, accused Nicaragua and other pro-China nations of disregarding its decades of contributions to the political body and Central America due to Beijing pressure.

"MOFA strongly condemns Daniel Ortega's dictatorial regime for willingly serving as a Chinese pawn, erroneously citing United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2758 and manipulating the false narrative of the so-called one China principle," Taipei's ministry of foreign affairs said in a strongly worded statement of rebuttal.

"This plot to deprive Taiwan of its rights and interests in the PARLACEN gravely harms the cooperation and friendship that the peoples of Taiwan and Central America have enjoyed for so many years, as well as highlighting China's relentless scheming to erode democracy in Central America and its expansionist ambitions in the region."

Nicaragua's proposal to kick Taiwan from the body had raised concerns among lawmakers in Washington, and on Tuesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued a statement of condemnation against the Central American Parliament.

"The presence of the People's Republic of China and the influence of the Chinese Communist Party in PARLACEN is an affront to our shared democratic values in the Americas, and undermines the security and stability of our hemisphere," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and ranking member Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said in a joint statement.


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