Central American Parliament adds China as observer, leaves Taiwan fuming

Central American Parliament adds China as observer, leaves Taiwan fuming

6-nation parliament removes Taiwan as observer, citing UN resolutions of 1971

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) - The Central American Parliament has approved China as an observer, in a move that effectively amounts to the removal of Taiwan.

Known as Parlacen, the six-nation parliament's admission of Beijing came after the proposal of Nicaragua, citing the 1971 UN expulsion of Taiwan in favor of China.

The parliamentary forum met on Monday in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, where a plenary approved China's entry as a permanent observer, said a statement from Parlacen.

Beijing welcomed the decision, while Taiwan said it was withdrawing from the parliament with "immediate effect ... in order to safeguard Taiwan's national dignity."

"Taiwan lacks the recognition as a sovereign state before the United Nations," the Nicaraguan Parliamentary Bench said in its arguments.

Nicaragua pointed out that the UN constituted an international organization among sovereign states "considers Taiwan as a province of Continental China, therefore disqualifies it for not having the right to participate in such an organization."

"The United Nations, in the plenary session of October 25, 1971, recognizes representatives of the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives and is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council," the Parlacen statement said.

Taiwan's parliament, the Legislative Yuan, had been an observer of Parlacen since 1999.

Parlacen has elected representatives from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Guatemala, where it is based. Guatemala is also the only member of the parliament that still has official ties with Taiwan.

El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama have switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in recent years.

Belize and Paraguay are two other central American nations with diplomatic ties to Taipei.

China considers Taiwan its "breakaway province" while Taipei has insisted on its independence since 1949, enjoying fully independent diplomatic relations with 13 nations.

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