My 2021 Foreign Policy Analysis article with Francisco Urdinez received some welcome attention from the Financial Times yesterday. The article drew on an interview with Paraguay’s president about the increasingly uncommon bilateral relationship, and noted our research on the opportunity cost that recognizing Taiwan appears to have incurred during the “China boom.” Paraguay is the only country in South America to recognize Taiwan over China; under the “One China” policy, third countries face an either/or decision between the two governments.
Although President Abdo is evidently seeking greater material benefits to placate domestic pressures for investment and markets (especially for agricultural goods), we argue that material benefits alone don’t explain Paraguay’s continued recognition of Taiwan. Today, the relationship between the long-dominant Colorado Party and the United States is increasingly shaky, creating another headwind for Paraguay’s pro-Taiwain faction. Still, Abdo offered quite strong support for Taiwan at the UN General Assembly, so the relationship appears to have some life.
Many thanks to editor Michael Stott at the FT for his interest!