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Nicaragua pledges to back Taiwan instead of China

Written by: Staff
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TAIPEI, Nov 23 (Reuters) Nicaraguan President-elect Daniel Ortega, a staunch China supporter when he ruled in the 1980s, has indicated he will maintain ties with China's archrival Taiwan, an official in Taipei said today.

If Ortega switched diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, Taiwan would lose its second foreign ally this year and its seventh since 2000 to China.

By leveraging its economic growth and chequebook diplomacy, China, which regards Taiwan as a breakaway province unqualified for diplomatic relations, has sought to isolate the island by stripping it of diplomatic allies, leaving it 24 compared to China's 170.

Ortega told visiting Taiwan Vice Foreign Minister Javier Hou in Nicaragua in mid-November that his Central American nation would stick by Taiwan, ministry spokesman David Wang said.

The former Sandinista guerrilla and Marxist switched diplomatic alliances from Taiwan to China in 1985 when his party was in power, but his successor switched back to Taiwan in 1990. He won the election on November 7 with 38 per cent of the vote.

China has considered Taiwan its own since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.

REUTERS AB KN1519

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