El Salvador Establishes Relations with China

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryUntil just a matter of days ago, El Salvador had recognized Taiwan (also called the “Republic of China”). This official recognition lasted 85 years. But this changed when the Salvadoran government formally recognized the People’s Republic of China (China) because the Salvadoran government wanted money for work projects and, yes, money for campaign contributions. The Salvadoran government is for all due purposes broke and needs money. Worse, for Salvadoran President Sanchez Ceren, he needs “contributions” so that his ruling party can win and stay in power. This Taiwan refused to do—Taiwan would draw itself into an internal political conflict in El Salvador if it did this. The Salvadoran government also wanted money for its Port La Union project which would be a modern port for ships. Taiwanese engineers familiar with the project advised the Taiwanese government that such a port was impractical since it was not a natural harbor and would cost too much to build and maintain. More than that, the Salvadoran government also wanted U.S. $23 billion for a free enterprise zone—another questionable investment.

But none of this proved to be a problem for China. China has been using money, investment projects and yes bribes to get governments that recognize Taiwan to switch to China. This has been the case this year alone with the loss of Taiwan’s allies Burkina Faso in Africa and the Dominican Republic. Again China’s money had tilted Taiwan’s former allies, who are poor and which may have unstable governments, into recognizing China and getting money and bribes for their own purposes. Indirectly, it is a threat to the United States as well. Those countries in Latin America which switch relations to China in this fashion could also allow for not only massive Chinese investments into their countries but might allow Chinese military personnel on their soil as well. And none of this would be good for America’s national security since China is the military as well as economic rival to the United States. At least with official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the United States did not have to worry about any economic or military threat from Taiwan—a burgeoning multi-party democracy that has no designs on the sovereignty of other countries and which presents NO threat to the United States. This is a sad day for democracy.

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