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El Salvador president-elect aide hints at resuming Taiwan ties

2019/02/08 20:40:40

CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) Taiwan is closely monitoring the latest political situation in its former ally El Salvador following a general election in that country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Friday, after an aide to Salvadoran president-elect Nayib Bukele said Thursday that the new leader will assess whether to maintain ties with Beijing instead of Taipei.

Bukele, a former mayor of capital San Salvador, won a landslide victory in Sunday's presidential election, with more than 50 percent of the vote, ending 25 years of two-party dominance in the crime-plagued Central American nation.

During the campaign, Bukele was critical of the benefits El Salvador received after establishing diplomatic relations with China.

The outgoing ruling leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) ditched Taipei in favor of Beijing in August 2018, ending 85 years of official ties.

According to a Reuters report Thursday, Federico Anliker, a member of the Bukele team and secretary-general of his New Ideas party, said the incoming administration would investigate why the outgoing government forged ties with China.

"With the issue of China, China-Taiwan relations, we have to study them and put them in the balance - what is best for the nation, not what is best for a political party, as the (outgoing administration) did," Anliker told local media on Thursday, according to the report.

"We were not consulted, nor did they give us the reasons (for establishing) relations with China. Now we have to investigate in detail," he continued.

Asked about Anliker's remarks, MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) told CNA that the ministry is aware of comments made by the Bukele camp.

"We will continue to closely monitor the latest post-election political situation in El Salvador," he said, without elaborating.

Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) previously said El Salvador decided to cut ties with Taiwan after the Central American nation's request for an "astronomical sum" of financial aid was rejected. He did not disclose the exact amount of the requested aid.

El Salvador is the fifth diplomatic ally to switch from Taiwan to China since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, often because of promises of huge financial assistance packages or loans from Beijing.

(By Joseph Yeh)
Enditem/AW