El Salvador on Tuesday broke ties with Taiwan as it sought to establish diplomatic relations with China, becoming the third Latin American country in two years to do so.
“Fundamentally, it’s an interest in betting on the growth of our country with one of the world’s most booming economies,” El Salvador's presidential spokesperson, Roberto Lorenzana said in an interview broadcast on Monday.
“El Salvador can’t turn its back on international reality.”
Taiwan's foreign minister said El Salvador's decision was due to financial investment promised by China, and Taiwan's refusal to fund a port development which it deemed 'unsuitable'.
The decision comes as Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen made an unofficial visit to Houston this weekend, her second stop over in the US in one week.
El Salvador's relations with the United States, whose tacit support for Taiwan has long fuelled tensions with China, are increasingly strained, following the US president's threat to cut aid to countries, which he described as 'doing nothing' to stop illegal entry by gangs into the US.
The US ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes on Tuesday tweeted that the decision to switch alliances was "worrisome" and would certainly impact the US relationship with El Salvador.