Summary of President Tsai Ing-wen’s statement on the termination of diplomatic relations between the ROC and Panama

Translated and excerpted from the President’s June 13 remarks in Chinese

With regard to the announcement by the Republic of Panama that it is severing diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and is establishing ties with the People’s Republic of China, the Office of the President and other relevant government agencies have already issued responses earlier today.

Following the severance of diplomatic relations between the ROC and Panama, the government will ensure that our country’s global economic deployment is not affected and fully protect the rights and interests of Taiwanese companies and expatriates in Panama. Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stationed in Panama will uphold the national interest to the very end and complete their work there in a dignified manner.

Although we have lost a diplomatic ally, our refusal to engage in checkbook diplomacy, the fact of the ROC’s existence, and Taiwan’s value and status in the international community will not change.

The ROC is a sovereign nation. Our sovereignty cannot be challenged, and cannot be traded away. The Beijing authorities have consistently manipulated the “one China principle” to interfere with Taiwan’s international presence and threaten the rights of the Taiwanese people. However, that the Republic of China is a sovereign nation is beyond dispute. This is a fact that the Beijing authorities will never be able to deny.

The Taiwanese people persistently pursue peace. Taiwan’s existence and its international role serve as cornerstones of regional peace and stability. It would be highly deplorable if Beijing’s erroneous thinking and provocative actions cause a change in cross-strait relations from peace to confrontation.

I want to take this opportunity to solemnly reiterate to the authorities in Beijing that Taiwan has already fulfilled all of its responsibilities in safeguarding peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Beijing’s actions have disrupted the status quo. The people of Taiwan cannot accept this, and we will not sit idly by while our national interests are repeatedly threatened and challenged.

The differences between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait cannot be overcome through suppression and threats. In fact, such actions only serve to widen the gap between people on the two sides. On behalf of the 23 million people of Taiwan, I can say that we will never concede nor cower in the face of threats.