Friday, June 08, 2007

Costa Rica Says Hasta La Vista, Baby.

International news was made again as Costa Rica switched recognition from Taiwan to China. Reports filled the world media:
Taiwans News.Net

A joint communique, signed on June 1 by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Costa Rican counterpart Bruno Stagno Ugarte, says the two governments, 'in accordance with the interests and aspirations of the peoples of the two countries, agree to establish diplomatic ties at ambassadorial level beginning June 1, 2007.'

'The Costa Rican government recognizes that there is only one China and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory,' it says.

Costa Rica established diplomatic relations with the then Chinese government ruled by the Kuomintang party in 1941. In 1949 the Kuomintang authorities moved to Taiwan and the People's Republic of China was founded.

'For Costa Rica this is an act of foreign policy realism that promotes links to Asia,' said Costa Rican President Oscar Arias. 'It is my responsibility to recognize a global player as important as the People's Republic of China.'

Arias, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for his efforts to end civil wars then in Central American countries, said his decision was based on the deep trade relationship between the two nations.

AP reports that the payola for recognition diplomatic strategy was outmatched:

Taiwan's foreign minister ordered ''extreme precautions'' be taken Thursday to hold on to the island's allies in Latin America after Costa Rica switched diplomatic relations to political rival China, further isolating the Taipei government.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias blamed Taiwan's meager aid for the switch and warned the island would lose more allies unless it was more generous with its aid.

''I was always critical of the Taiwanese, and I can say now that I always told them . . . if you want to have friends in the world, you should be more generous,'' he said.

He cited as an example Taiwan's $20 million aid offer to Haiti, arguing that the island should give ``10 times that, $200 million, because that's nothing to you, seeing the reserves you have.''

''Considering the few friends they have, they don't treat them very well,'' Arias said of Taiwan, adding: ``Without a doubt, we will get more help from China.''

The Domino effect was cited in another AP report:

In May, Nicaragua's Vice President Jaime Morales raised the possibility of cutting ties with the island when he told Huang that "we as a sovereign country choose who our friends are" and that he "doesn't deny the reality that China represents economically, commercially and geopolitically."

Analyst Andrew Yang of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies said the Costa Rican decision would likely create a chain reaction. "Probably Nicaragua and Panama are next and then maybe Paraguay," he said.

But the local pro-KMT English rag, the China Post, assured its readers that the other nations will stand firm:

Two of Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America, Guatemala and El Salvador, have each announced that they will maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

The two countries made their announcements after Costa Rica, formerly another ally of Taiwan in Central America, switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing Wednesday.

According to Spanish news reports by the Associated Press, Salvadoran President Antonio Saca said at a news conference Wednesday that his nation would like to develop relations with China, but only on the condition that China not ask his country to cut its ties with Taiwan.

This kind of thing is one of the inevitable results of living inside a cocoon called the Republic of China. That state is a virtual government whose time has passed. There's not much else to be done or said, except play out the string. Perhaps when it reaches the end there will be new thinking in Taipei about the island's international role. Many commentators are arguing for some kind of quasi-state-freeport solution for the island's status. That's certainly interesting, but it doesn't do squat about our expansionist neighbor across the Straits.

In the meantime, to return to the discussion of the Status Quo , it is interesting how China's continued suppression of Taiwan's international presence is not regarded as a status quo violation.....


MJ Klein said...

the government of Taiwan should immediately sue Costa Rica on the grounds of conspiricy. Costa Rica does not have the rights to dictate whether or not one country belongs to another, and they used that as a basis for breaking diplomatie ties with Taiwan. the status of Taiwan has remained unchanged throughout this entire course of events, yet Costa Rica now says that Taiwan is an "unalienable" part of China. they should have to prove the validity of that statement in court. also, Costa Rica should be ordered to pay back aid.

this is like buying something in Thailand. when they see you coming they jack up the price. why? "because you can afford it."

"when people say its all about money, that's because it is. always."

Andre said...

having lived in costa rica for many years during my childhood, i've been saddened by this news for the past few days.

Anonymous said...

"I was always critical of the Taiwanese, and I can say now that I always told them . . . if you want to have friends in the world, you should be more generous," he said.

Well, that's how I always choose my friends. Nevermind loyalty, I'll take deep pockets any time.


Anonymous said...

"This kind of thing is one of the inevitable results of living inside a cocoon called the Republic of China."

Um EXACTLY! Why do people only recognize "one" China, but yet when it comes to Taiwan, they don't say "ROC", but they say "Taiwan". Part of the problem lies in Taiwan's own constitution and it definitely needs to be amended to reflect that Taiwan is indeed Taiwan. The other part as you mentioned, is China of course, but at least get the ONE of the basics out of the way if you know what I mean.

I've stated all along that Taiwan is really making futile efforts to join anything international because ROC still disputes, according to its own constitution the fact that only the PRC rules China and not ROC. If I'm not mistaken the ROC Constitution has a clause that states that it rules all of China including Inner Mongolia, Tibet, and Taiwan. Of course we now know that the Taiwan part is false, so part of the solution is in Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

I found this semi-related tidbit the other day while reading the

Back in 1976, Taiwan walked out of the Montreal Olympics in protest over Canada's recognition of the PRC.

"The Games were political in 1976, when Taiwan walked out of the Olympics in Montreal to protest Canada's recognition of the People's Republic of China, and in 1980, when the United States and dozens of other nations (including China!) boycotted the Moscow Olympics in denunciation of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan."

So, it's a good thing the Olympics were not held in San Jose (Costa Rica) next year. BTW, Costa Rica only has 4.5 million people. Its a small place, but I think rather an important ally like SKorea and SAfrica. Its a big blow to Taiwan. Panama has defiantly got to be next since China COSCO controls both ends of the canal zone. Its only a matter of time as well for Nicaragua. Maybe there is more money in it for them if they make the announcement right before the olymipics.

I have to agree with Arias statement: "Considering the few friends they have, they don't treat them very well". From my POV, even here IN Taiwan, the government does not make it easy for foreigners to live here and do business.

It is really self-defeating policies that are doing them in. I for one have lost all desire to help or care about this place anymore due to their stingy and archaic visa policies.

channing said...

walter, your idea works in principle, but the point of China is to prevent Taiwan from boasting any characteristic of a fully sovereign nation, regardless of the name.

Trying to join international organizations as simply "Taiwan" will only bring about escalated tensions as Taiwan is the common usage and is not the title of the nation, thus carrying an even more extreme notion of separatism as China defines it.

Also, "Taiwan" is only the main island administered by the ROC. Officially, Kinmen and Matsu are not included in the notion of "Taiwan." Using Taiwan as a national name will alienate those two island groups, unless the constitution is changed to put them under the name "Taiwan"--which may be unacceptable for some of the outer residents who don't identify with the main island.