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Taiwan's ties with Saint Lucia remain strong: ministry

2012/10/16 15:03:25

Taipei, Oct. 16 (CNA) Diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Saint Lucia remain strong despite a recent visit by the Caribbean state's foreign minister to China, Taiwanese foreign affairs officials said Tuesday.

The foreign minister of Saint Lucia visited China in his capacity as the second deputy chief of the ruling Labour Party, said Florencia Hsie, deputy director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs.

His visit was to explain St. Lucia's decision to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Hsie said in response to a question on the issue at a news briefing.

Meanwhile, Steve Hsia, Taiwan's foreign ministry spokesman, reiterated that ties between Taiwan and St. Lucia remain "solid."

He cited as evidence the attendance of St. Lucian Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and other government officials at a celebration of Taiwan's National Day held by Taiwan's embassy in the Caribbean country.

In September, Anthony announced that his government would maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but he also expressed the hope of developing amicable relations with China, according to foreign reports.

St. Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984 but switched recognition to China in 1997 when the country's Labour Party gained power.

It then restored ties with Taipei in 2007 when the United Workers Party took back power, but many had expected the country to switch recognition back to China after Labour's Anthony won office in elections in late 2011.

St. Lucia is one of Taiwan's 23 diplomatic allies.

(By Elaine Hou)