Ma to visit South American allies
Sunday, February 08 2009 @ 12:59 PM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Taiwan only has 23 official diplomatic allies, mostly small or impoverished nations in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific. The Vatican is its only European ally.
El Salvador has long been a reliable ally, though occasionally reports have appeared suggesting that Panama might switch recognition to Beijing considering China's growing economy and its interests in the Panama Canal.
Since Ma took office last May, he has been trying to achieve what he calls a "diplomatic truce," calling a halt to the past competition between Taiwan and China for allies, often by promising money for development and other projects.
China has not officially responded to Ma's offer, but no allies have switched sides since he took office.