(CNSNews.com) – The White House late Thursday accused China of interfering in the Western Hemisphere after El Salvador became the latest of a dwindling number of allies to abandon Taiwan in favor of relations with Beijing.
In a statement, press secretary Sarah Sanders also signaled that the move by the leftist administration of the tiny Central American nation would “result in a reevaluation of our relationship with El Salvador.”
Already some Republican senators have U.S. aid to El Salvador in their sights over the decision to dump Taiwan.
China regards Taiwan as a rebellious province and refuses to have diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes it as a sovereign state.
For years it has worked to isolate Taiwan on the international stage, offering financial and other inducements to draw mostly poor countries away – and with considerable success.
El Salvador becomes the third country to swap recognition this year, after Burkina Faso and the Dominican Republic. Panama abandoned Taiwan last year, following Sao Tome and Principe in late 2016.
While 178 countries recognize China, Taipei is now left with just 17 diplomatic allies – nine in the Americas, six Pacific island nations, the Vatican City in Europe and a last African holdout, Swaziland, which is reportedly on the verge of following El Salvador.
“It is only a matter of time before Taiwan has zero ‘allies,’” the Communist Party organ Global Times gloated in an editorial Wednesday.
Noting that most countries recognizing Taiwan do more trade with China than with Taiwan, it called their establishment of ties with Beijing “an irresistible trend.”
Beyond annoyance at China’s treatment of Taiwan, the U.S. is also reportedly concerned that as part of the El Salvador switch, China plans to develop a port, La Union, with possibly military implications.
“They are trying to find weak spots in the region to make these kinds of arrangements in the region,” U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes was quoted as saying this week.