Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen arrived in Guatemala on Friday on a visit to the Central American region meant to tighten her country’s alliances with the region’s countries that have not fallen under the influence of China.
Tsai held talks with her counterpart, Alejandro Giammattei, and is expected to visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal in the north of the country Saturday. On Sunday, she is expected to visit the new Chimaltenango hospital in the west that was built with a $22 million donation from Taipei.
Tsai then travels to Belize, where she will meet Prime Minister John Briceno on Monday. On her way back to Taiwan, she is scheduled to meet U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
The Taiwanese president’s visit comes just days after Honduras, a neighboring nation of Guatemala, broke ties with Taiwan, following in the footsteps of Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, Panama and Costa Rica.
The switches of allegiance from Taiwan to China coincide with money and promised projects from China, if the countries switch.
Political analysts say it is likely only a matter of time before the Central American countries who have been loyal to Taiwan come under the influence of China and its checkbook diplomacy.
China has a One China policy, and it does not allow countries to recognize both China and Taiwan. China considers Taiwan part of Chinese territory.
Some material in this report came from Agence France-Presse and The Associated Press.