Taiwan has joined China in urging Panama to "respect" the long and loyal bilateral relationship and remain "neutral" in the dispute between Japan and China over the Diaoyu islands (Senkaku to Tokyo).
The Taiwanese ambassador to Panama, Diego Chou. said at a press conference that the Chinese and Taiwanese residents in Panama have reacted “very strongly” to President Ricardo Martinelli’s support for the Japanese government in its claim of sovereignty over the islands.
Martinelli made the statement during a visit to Japan that ended Wednesday “My government has expressed concern and discomfort over that statement," said Chou. The position taken by Martinelli "does not respect the sovereignty of Taiwan, a loyal ally of Panama," said Chou, who expects the situation "will not get worse and that the government of Panama will clarify" the issue.
The Panamanian government has responded to the annoyancee by Chou nor the complaint expressed by Beijing on Tuesday, when Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei, said at a press conference that Panama’s stance "undermines" Chinese interests.
Taiwan’s ambassador explained in the press conference the historical controversy over the disputed islands, lost to China in a war in 1895 and recovered in 1945 after the defeat of Japan in World War II and noted Taiwanese sovereignty there because they are part of the same archipelago.