The Dominican Republic (D.R.) and China celebrate the opening of the new D.R. embassy in Beijing Saturday. The two countries established diplomatic ties in May after Dominican President Danilo Medina broke ties with Taiwan.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Wang praised the Dominican Republic's decision to sever ties with Taiwan, which Beijing considers a renegade province, saying China and the Caribbean island nation were "writing a new history."
"This is due to the wise decision of establishing diplomatic relations between China and the Dominican Republic," Wang said.
Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas said that by opening the new embassy, the two countries were "opening a very relevant chapter in the international relations of the Dominican Republic."
On Friday, the Dominican President met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to celebrate their new ties and oversee the signing of 18 cooperation agreements.
The D.R. severed relations with Taiwan in May. Shortly after, Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu announced a swift “termination of relations” and all assistance to the country, Singapore-based newspaper Straits Times reported
The Caribbean nation was one of 20 countries with official diplomatic ties to Taiwan; now only 17 countries recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation and maintain diplomatic relations.
El Salvador and Panama have also relinquished their ties to the island this year, prompting the U.S. to recall its diplomats from the three Latin American countries "for consultations related to recent decisions to no longer recognize Taiwan."
Taiwan declared independence from mainland China in 1949 during a civil war. However, China still considers the island to be part of its territory.
Washington does not have diplomatic relations with Taipei but is the island's main arms supplier and strongest international backer and it is committed to Taiwan's defense.
The U.S. has increasingly regarded improving China-Latin American relations as a threat to its economic and militaristic interests in the region, but Latin American economies see China as an option for economic growth and a source of foreign investment.
In August, the White House stated that China was attracting countries with economic incentives that would "facilitate economic dependency and domination, not a partnership," and that those countries “may be disappointed over the long run."