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Taiwan unruffled by Chinese funding of investment in allied country

2010/10/18 20:17:33

Taipei, Oct 18 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Mondaythat Taiwan-Dominican Republic relations remain firm despite growingfinancial ties between Taiwan's Caribbean ally and China and hints ofa possible interest in changing allegiance.

Bank of China and China's Foreign Trade Bank were reported onOct. 15 to have agreed to extend US$462 million in financing for anexclusive tourism complex in Punta Perla in the eastern part of that country being developed by Spanish investors.

Dominican Republic Tourism Minister Francisco Javier Garcia wasquoted as saying that the deal created a precedent that will open thedoors for Chinese financing of Dominican Republic developmentprojects, but Taiwan appeared to take the news in stride.

"There are many foreign investments in the Dominican Republic.Our embassy will closely monitor the situation. However, the Republicof China does not oppose trade relations between the private sectorsof our allies and those in China," said MOFA spokesman James Chang.

Taiwan had already received a jolt earlier this month when Garciaintimated during a visit to Shanghai that his country was hoping forfull relations with China "sooner than later."

"We aspire sooner than later, our relations with the People'sRepublic of China are complete relations and absolutas, " he wasquoted as saying by online news service Dominican Today on Oct. 5.

Chang said the Taiwanese embassy in Santo Domingo immediatelyraised concerns with the Dominican Republic government regardingGarcia's comments, but stressed that Taiwan's longstanding friendshipwith the Dominican Republic remains unshaken.

"The Dominican Republic's foreign policies are directed by itspresident," Chang added.

In July, President Ma Ying-jeou received an official delegationled by Dominican Secretary of Defense Pedro Rafael Pena Antonio andexpressed hope for further bilateral agricultural, educational,security and economic cooperation in the future.

Ma also commended the Caribbean ally for playing a vital role inassisting Haiti, another one of Taiwan's allies, in the post-quakeefforts.

On Oct. 11, the MOFA thanked the Dominican Republic as one of 17allied countries that backed Taiwan's bid to join the InternationalCivil Aviation Organization as an observer.

(By Jenny W. Hsu)