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Taiwan's new office in Nigeria to keep staff level after moving

2017/12/05 14:03:14

CNA file photo

Taipei, Dec. 5 (CNA) Taiwan's trade mission in Nigeria will keep the same number of staff after it relocates from the capital Abuja to Lagos, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Tuesday.

Grace Lo (羅靜如), deputy head of the ministry's Department of West Asia and African Affairs, confirmed that staffing levels at the office will remain the same after the move, seemingly at odds with a request from the Nigerian government, which ordered the move.

Lo did not specify how many people work at the office, but a source speaking on condition of anonymity said four people work there after office director Morgan Chao (趙家寶) left on March 31.

Chao was ordered to leave by Nigeria's government and is unlikely to return to his post in the new location, according to the source, who was authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Taiwan and Nigeria are still in talks over the name of the new office, the source said, adding that Taiwan hopes it will still be able to maintain the title "Republic of China" as part of it.

The Nigerian government ordered Taiwan in January to move its office from the capital, change the name of the office to remove the title "Republic of China (Taiwan)" and cut office staff, reportedly under Chinese pressure.

China's Foreign Ministry later lauded the move, saying that it showed the African country's "staunch support" of the "one-China" principle that sees Taiwan as part of the People's Republic of China.

Taiwan has responded by twice summoning the acting director of Nigeria's trade office in Taipei to protest the African country's series of moves against Taiwan's interests, according to the MOFA.

After the relocation, which is expected to be completed by mid-December, the ministry will ask the Taipei-based Nigeria Trade Office in Taiwan to move to another location based on the principles of equality and dignity, Lo said.

A Foreign Ministry source previously told local media that the Nigeria representative office could choose to close instead of moving, but Lo did not know if that will be the case.

She said the ministry has informed Nigeria several times that Taiwan will demand that its office be moved out of Taipei, and "there is currently no sign indicating that the Nigerian side won't comply with the demand."

Asked to comment, Nigeria's trade office in Taipei told CNA that the office has not received official notice from the MOFA demanding its relocation and therefore has no further comment on the issue.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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