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Taiwan cuts ties with Dominican Republic (update)

2018/05/01 11:05:53

Taipei, May 1 (CNA) Taiwan is cutting diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic after the Caribbean country switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing on Monday, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) announced Tuesday.

"To safeguard our nation's sovereignty and dignity, we've decided to terminate diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic immediately," Wu said at a press conference at which he also said the former ally made the change because of Beijing's financial incentives.

Taiwan will also halt all bilateral cooperative projects, cut all assistance to the Dominican Republic, and pull out its diplomatic staff and technical missions from the country that has had ties with the Republic of China for 77 years, Wu said.

Wu's announcement came after the Dominican Republic's government announced it was establishing diplomatic relations with China and breaking its diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

It said it would also recognize Taiwan as an "inalienable part of Chinese territory."

The Dominican Republic's decision leaves Taiwan with only 19 diplomatic allies in the world.

The decision was widely seen as part of China's mounting efforts to pressure Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, which has adopted a less conciliatory attitude toward China than its predecessor, took office on May 20, 2016.

Taiwan previously had ties severed with Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016 and Panama in June 2017 and has failed in bids to participate in regular meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2017.

Wu said the government strongly condemns China's decision to use dollar diplomacy to convert Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

"Beijing's attempts at foreign policy have only served to drive a wedge between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, erode mutual trust and further harm the feelings of the people of Taiwan," he said in English.

His statement in Chinese, however, described Beijing's behavior as "barbarous."

Wu also blasted Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina for ignoring the long-term friendship of the two countries to accept the false promise of investment and aid from China.

Wu reminded the international community of China's notorious record of not following through on promises it has made to Taiwan's former allies to shift their allegiance.

Beijing has previously failed to deliver on its pledge to Costa Rica of US$1 billion in assistance to build a refinery and US$400 million to construct highways when it established relations with the country in 2007.

More recently, since forming ties with Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016, it has failed to uphold its pledge to provide US$140 million in aid to that African island nation, Wu said.

While Taiwan faces serious diplomatic challenges, Wu stressed that the government will not bow to pressure from Beijing.

"We will work with friendly nations to uphold regional peace and stability and ensure our rightful place in the international community," he said, adding that Taiwanese diplomats around the globe will continue to fight for Taiwan's dignity and rights.

(By Joseph Yeh)
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