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  • China's squeeze on Taiwan has intensified after Beijing won over another of Taiwan's dwindling diplomatic allies.

  • The defection of Panama on Tuesday leaves Taiwan with just 20 countries that formerly recognize it.

  • Most of these are small, impoverished nations like Palau in the South Pacific and Haiti in the Caribbean.

  • Panama's switch is a blow to the pro-independence government of Tsai Ing-wen.

  • And it highlights how China is deploying a mix of carrots and sticks to exploit the diplomatic vacuum left by president Donald Trump.

  • China has worked hard to neutralize oppositions to the military bases it built in the South China Sea.

  • Meanwhile, South Korea has suspended the deployment of the US-backed missile shield after an economic boycott by Beijing.

  • China claims that Taiwan is its territory.

  • Under threat of sanction from Beijing, most countries refuse to recognize Taiwan's government.

  • Diplomats expect more of Taiwan's allies to follow Panama's lead.

  • Taiwan is not likely to bend to Beijing's will anytime soon, but the pressure is increasing.

  • While Asian nations fret over President Trump's lack of commitment to the region,

  • China is exploiting the uncertainty to maximum advantage.

  • Ben Bland, Financial Times, Hong Kong.

China's squeeze on Taiwan has intensified after Beijing won over another of Taiwan's dwindling diplomatic allies.

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Panama cuts ties with Taiwan | World

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    Colleen Jao posted on 2017/06/21
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