Will Nicaragua Recognize China or Taiwan?

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - HealthThe Nicaraguan government has all kinds of economic agreements with China. One of these include the building and improving a canal across the country. Yet the strange thing is that despite having all kinds of investments from China, the Nicaraguan government still recognizes the Republic of China on Taiwan. The People’s Republic of China, which is simply known as “China,” has diplomatic relations with almost all countries throughout the world. However, the Republic of China on Taiwan (simply known as “Taiwan”), has a handful of countries to this day that recognizes it as the “rightful government of China.” This all goes back to the rivalry between the Communists and the Nationalists from the Chinese civil war that started in 1945, and really never concluded. The Nationalists having fled to Taiwan where they claimed to be the rightful government of China while the Communists set up the People’s Republic of China and rule all of mainland China.

Before the Sandinistas took control of Nicaragua from the dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979, Nicaragua had recognized only Taiwan. This changed in 1985, when the Sandinistas switched recognition to China in 1985. When a more conservative administration took power in the 1990’s, Nicaragua again switched recognition to Taiwan. In 2007, when the Sandinistas regained power in Nicaragua, Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega Saavedra reaffirmed Nicaragua’s commitment to full diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In fact, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited Nicaragua on an official state visit in 2017. Even though the Nicaraguan government is politically left and recognizes many left wing movements (including a Palestinian state while maintaining no diplomatic relations with Israel), the Nicaraguan government still maintains relations with Taiwan. Nicaragua has as much investment from China as it does with Taiwan, but it still seems that ironically Nicaragua maintains relations with a very moderate, democratic Taiwan which most left wing states would not.

Strangely enough, China is not protesting Nicaragua’s diplomatic relations with Taiwan. It may be due to China biding its time in the hope that it can persuade Nicaragua to switch relations. Could this change? Yes, there is no question that this could all change tomorrow. Many Asia and Latin America experts are stating that since Panama switched full diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, it is more than probable that Nicaragua could do the same. Why it has not done so is still a mystery. The only answer may be that the Nicaraguan government is playing off both countries until it might choose which one has the most money and power?!

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