Costa Rica 2007. Panama 2017. Who’s next in Taiwan-Beijing battle?

Panama recently announced that it is ending its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan and instead recognizing China. As Boz and Greg note, Panama was one of the more important remaining allies of Taiwan.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen toured Central America earlier this year. She visited Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, four countries that still recognize the island.

The Guatemalan Foreign Minister had no comment on whether the country was considering making a change from Taiwan to Beijing - "We don't have an official position on this. It's a matter that concerns other countries." Honduras would not say anything publicly but, speaking on the condition of anonymity, a government source said that the country would maintain diplomatic and commercial ties with Taiwan.

It is somewhat surprising that the leftist governments in El Salvador and Nicaragua have yet to flip diplomatic recognition between Taiwan and Beijing. However, the region has been down this path before when Costa Rica switched its recognition in 2007.

For now, it looks as if Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador will continue to work with Taiwan through SICA (Taiwan is one of the largest financial contributors) and perhaps a new free trade agreement (not sure if there has been any movement since February).