SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - Salvadoran President-elect Nayib Bukele will assess whether the country should maintain diplomatic relations with China, a member of his team said on Thursday, less than a year after the outgoing government broke ties with Taiwan.
During the campaign, Bukele, who emerged victorious at the polls as an outsider candidate on Sunday, was critical of the benefits that El Salvador received after establishing diplomatic relations with China.
Federico Anliker, a close member of the Bukele team and secretary general of his New Ideas party, said the incoming administration would investigate why the outgoing government forged ties with China.
“With the issue of China, China-Taiwan relations, we have to study them and put them in the balance - what is best for the nation, not what is best for a political party, as the (outgoing administration) did,” Anliker told local media on Thursday
“We were not consulted, nor did they give us the reasons (for establishing) relations with China. Now we have to investigate in detail,” he continued.
In August, El Salvador broke ties with Taiwan to establish relations with China, following the Dominican Republic and Panama. China later offered El Salvador about $150 million for social projects and 3,000 tons of rice to feed thousands of Salvadorans struck by a drought.
The White House warned in August that China was luring countries with incentives that “facilitate economic dependence and domination, not partnership.”
Anliker also said that Bukele, a 37-year-old former mayor of the capital, expressed his support for Juan Guaido, who proclaimed himself Venezuela’s legitimate head of state in January.
Bukele “would not be willing to support a totalitarian government that represses its people and disrespects human rights,” he said, referring to the administration of President Nicolas Maduro.
Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Editing by Sandra Maler