Panama has decided to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish diplomatic relations with China, the second economy in the world and important economic partner for Panama.
Taiwan responded angrily to the move, which could aggravate the tension between the "Taipei" and "Beijing", which considers the island a renegade province must be reunited with China.
A statement published in the media Panamanian "in the light of the interests and desire of the two peoples, decided the Republic of Panama and the Republic of China from the date of the signing of this statement, the exchange of recognition between them and establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level."
The statement added that the Government of Panama "recognizes that there is only one China" and that "Taiwan is an integral part of Chinese territory."
He said the joint statement that "Panama today cut off diplomatic relations" with Taiwan "and vows to stop every relationship or official contact with Taiwan."
At the same time, Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela announced "the country and the world" in a letter to the nation that "Panama and the People's Republic of China established as of today diplomatic relations."
Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Vice President of the Panamanian Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo signed in Beijing, the statement formally provides for the launch of these diplomatic relations.
Wang said, "It's a historic moment, relations between China and Panama opened a new chapter," adding that Panama's decision "fully complies" with the interests of its people and in line with our time. " For its part, the minister said the Panamanian "It has taken a strategic decision for the best interests of the two countries."
For its part, Taiwan responded harshly to cut off relations with Panama. She said, "We strongly condemn Beijing manipulator known as the one-China policy to continue to reduce the margin to Taiwan by all means."
The diplomatic tension between Taiwan and Beijing fell under the previous Taiwanese government. But relations have deteriorated again since the victory of the main party Tsai Wen-LAING last year's election.
So far, Panama has been to establish diplomatic relations with Taiwan and trade relations with China.
China is the second user of the Panama Canal after the United States. Through last year in this channel about 38 million tons of goods, accounted for 18.9 percent of the traffic.
- "important role" -
The announcement comes a week after the start of the construction of China's container terminal facilities with natural gas in the northern province of Colon Panama.
After Panama's decision, still twenty States recognize Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province.
In Central America, all countries recognize Taiwan to cut off Costa Rica in 2010, diplomatic relations with the island, as it has done now Panama.
President Valera said in his speech that "Taiwan was a great friend of Panama, and we are grateful to her for this friendship and cooperation for the development of our country when we have diplomatic relations."
Relations between China and Panama began more than 160 years ago when I arrived the first group of Chinese workers to the country to work on a project for a railway to link the coasts of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.
On June 26, 2016, it was the first ship cross the canal after the Chinese expansion. On the other hand, China is the first provider of goods free zone in Cologne, one of the largest of this kind in Latin America.
Stationed multinationals and Chinese companies operating in a number of areas from banks to energy, communications and technology in recent years in Panama.
The president said that Valera "the People's Republic of China has always played an important role in Panama's economy."
He announced projects agreements with China, he is currently studying in tourism, trade, agriculture, immigration, culture and education sectors.
He said Panamanian President "We have taken a historic day (...) will benefit our two peoples and our present and future", stressing at the same time, China's role on the regional and international levels.