Panama gets fisheries training for switching diplomatic recognition to China

Published on
July 14, 2017

China is using fisheries training to reward countries that ally themselves to Beijing. 

That’s the clear indication after representatives from the central American state of Panama – which only earlier this year switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China – were included in the annual summer training sessions for developing countries at China’s fisheries academy, paid for by China’s Commerce Ministry. 

Representatives from Panama are on a 70-day training program for breeding tilapia, which in total includes 62 representatives from 12 countries including Papa New Guinea, Uganda, and Ghana.     

Aquaculture and fisheries officials from developing countries are also in China on a separate 30-day training program on seedlings and feed production for aquaculture, also paid for by the Commerce Ministry. Other countries represented on that program are Sudan and South Sudan as well as Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Egypt. Asian countries represented include Cambodia, Thailand, Samoa, and Sri Lanka.

It’s not the first time recently that China has used fisheries training as a political reward. Officials from the Philippines have gotten training in China this year after the Philippine government agreed to end a dispute over Chinese control of fishing waters in the South China Sea. China has in the past decades been aiming this strategy at diplomatic allies of Taiwan, which it considers a renegade province. 

Contributing Editor reporting from Beijing, China

Want seafood news sent to your inbox?