Taipei - Taiwan said Tuesday it was breaking off diplomatic relations with El Salvador because the Central American country is switching recognition to China.
The move leaves Taiwan with just 17 diplomatic allies around the world, as Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the self-ruled island, continues in its attempts to isolate it on the international stage.
"All bilateral cooperation projects will be terminated. We will begin to recall all diplomatic staff and technical teams," Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told a news conference in Taipei.
Beijing's "One China" principle requires that other nations avoid formal diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. The island has had a separate government since Chinese Nationalists fled there in 1949 after losing a civil war to the Communists.
Taiwan's government had received confirmation that the Central American nation was planning to end relations and defect to China, Wu said according to the official Central News Agency.