BEIJING-China established formal relations with the Dominican Republic, peeling away another of Taiwan's dwindling diplomatic partners as Beijing tries to pressure Taipei to accept Chinese terms for political engagement.
"Hence the Government of the Dominican Republic (DR) severs "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan as of this day", it said.
Flavio Dario Espinal is the legal consultant to the Dominican presidential office.
The Caribbean country has ended 77 years of diplomatic dealings with Taiwan and opened formal relations with China. Those allies are Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Later that year Beijing established ties with São Tomé and Príncipe after the island nation off the west coast of Africa broke with Taiwan.
China and Taiwan split during a civil war in 1949.
The statement highlights that the formalization of relations is an acknowledgment of the Chinese-Dominican community, which has had a long history of participation in all economic, social and cultural activities of the country, which should be a natural link for this new stage between the two nations. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media.
Seizing the opportunity, Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the Dominican Republic and gave it 50 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, also known as Humvees, in February this year, the official said.
Taiwan is regularly shut out of influential forums as organisers come under pressure from Beijing not to recognise the island as a valid participant.
The agreement was signed early on Tuesday in Beijing by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas.
The Chinese government continues to be critical of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's administration. However, warming relations between the Holy See and China have the pro-independence government in Taipei anxious that the Vatican may also reconsider its diplomatic relations.
Last year, Taiwan expressed "anger and regret" over the "very unfriendly" diplomatic turn by Panama and accused it of "bullying" Taipei while "ignoring the many years of friendship" between the two countries.
"Today's event will create a stream of diplomatic switching from Taipei in a matter of months, if not in years", Richard W. Hu, a professor of politics at the University of Hong Kong, said in an email. There also have been strong indications that the Vatican - Taiwan's most symbolically important remaining ally - may follow suit in the near future. Beijing sees the island as a renegade province that is part of its territory awaiting reunification. And if Taiwan's global recognition increased, that could jeopardize China's claim to the island. "Developing nations should be aware of the danger of falling into a debt trap when engaging with China".