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“Unlawful and utterly disgusting”: Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs against seizure of former embassy in Nicaragua

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Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2021. 9:08 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu of the Republic of China (Taiwan) has publicly complained of the “unlawful & utterly disgusting” seizure of its former embassy in Managua, Nicaragua, after the Central American country switched its recognition to the People’s Republic of China.

The Minister tweeted, “After the Ortega regime ordered #Taiwan out of #Nicaragua before #Christmas, we sold the embassy to Managua Archdiocese for $1. This charitable act was our goodwill to the people. But Ortega seized the property & will gift it to the #PRC. This is unlawful & utterly disgusting,” signing the tweet as per Taiwanese diplomatic convention to signal it was official.

The Ministry also retweeted an Associated Press story on the seizure. It reports that the attempt to donate the properties to the Roman Catholic Church “would be invalid” and a “maneuver and subterfuge to take what doesn’t belong to them.”

Officially, Taiwan’s Foreign Relations Ministry condemned the “gravely illegal actions of the Ortega regime,” saying the Nicaraguan government had violated standard procedures by giving Taiwanese diplomats just two weeks to get out of the country. It said Taiwan “also condemns the arbitrary obstruction by the Nicaraguan government of the symbolic sale of its property to the Nicaraguan Catholic church”.

According to the Associated Press, Monsignor Carlos Avilés, vicar of the archdiocese of Managua, told the La Prensa newspaper that a Taiwanese diplomat had offered the church the property, saying, “I told him there was no problem, but the transfer was still in the legal process”.

Nicaragua’s defection in December left Taiwan, which is officially claimed by the PRC, with just 14 diplomatic allies remaining, three of those – including Belize – in Central America after successful poachings by the PRC in recent years, bolstering its claim that Taiwan is not recognized in global forums or in diplomacy.

Nicaragua had established diplomatic relations with Taiwan in the 1990s, when President Violeta Chamorro assumed power after defeating Ortega’s Sandinista movement at the polls. Ortega, who was elected back to power in 2007, had maintained ties with Taipei until now.

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