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Ties with Dominican Republic stabilized: MOFA

2017/11/16 16:53:17

CNA file photo

Taipei, Nov. 16 (CNA) Diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic have been stabilized following a series of two-way high level official visits over the past month, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Thursday.

Fielding questions during an Oct. 18 legislative hearing, Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) said the ministry had sought to stabilize relations for some time amid warnings that the Caribbean ally could be moving closer to Beijing.

At the hearing, opposition Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) pointed to signs that the Dominican Republic could switch its allegiance from Taipei to Beijing.

Lee noted that he visited the Caribbean ally in July and Vice Foreign Minister Jose Maria Liu (劉德立) went there in August and late October to further strengthen ties.

Commenting on the latest development, Diego Chou (周麟), head of MOFA's Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said Thursday that ties have been stabilized after Liu's visits.

"During the last trip Liu confirmed several bilateral cooperation projects and representatives from both sides were pleased with bilateral developments," he said.

Following Liu's last visit, the Caribbean ally's defense minister and Air Force commander have visited Taiwan in recent weeks, indicating that the reported crisis has been solved and bilateral ties stabilized, he added.

Chou disclosed that MOFA and Taiwan's embassy in the Dominican Republic did hear rumors that Beijing was offering the ally "billions of U.S. dollars" to ditch Taiwan in favor of China.

However, Chou said these were just rumors rather than concrete proposals as Beijing sought to appeal to Dominican Republic officials who are unfamiliar with such "old tricks."

Chou also explained that when Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬) visited the ally on Oct. 27, he donated a number of decommissioned Humvees and military helicopters from the Republic of China (Taiwan).

"The military made the donation in the form of humanitarian assistance and goodwill," he said.

However, local media have questioned the decision, saying it is a waste of money and undermines Taiwan's defense capabilities.

(By Joseph Yeh)