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Ties with Palau have been a 'headache': David Lee

2017/11/29 15:43:29

Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維)

Taipei, Nov. 29 (CNA) Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) said on Wednesday that the nation's diplomatic ties with Palau have been a "headache" as the ministry has had to spend a lot of time paying close attention to its Pacific ally.

However, Lee added that such challenges were "surmountable," without offering any further elaboration.

The minister said relations were "green turning yellow" when asked by Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) to rate Taiwan's ties with Palau using a traffic light system, with green indicating ties are stable and red suggesting they are at a standstill,

Lee made the comments during a Legislative hearing Wednesday when Chiang issued a warning in the wake of media reports that China has asked its state-controlled tourism industry not to send tour groups to Palau and the Vatican, both of which are diplomatic allies of Taiwan.

Some have suggested that Beijing is seeking to pressure Palau to switch its allegiance as a rising number of Chinese tourists have flocked to the island over the past few years, representing a major source of income for the nation.

Meanwhile, commenting on rising concerns that the Holy See is developing closer ties with Beijing, Lee said the ministry has confidence in the nation's diplomatic relations with the Vatican.

It was announced last week that the Vatican Museums and the China Cultural Industrial Investment Fund are joining forces for the first time to promote two exhibits which will open simultaneously in the Vatican Museums and the Forbidden City palace complex in Beijing in the spring of 2018.

The latest announcement adds to a growing list of developments that taken together indicate the Vatican and Beijing are closer than ever, with the former making many goodwill gestures to China, especially since Pope Francis assumed the papacy in March 2013.

(By Joseph Yeh)
Enditem/AW