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Taiwan monitors ties with eSwatini after China Africa pledge

2018/09/04 14:41:08

MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) / CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 4 (CNA) Taiwan is closely monitoring ties with eSwatini, its only diplomatic ally in Africa, and will continue to provide assistance to strengthen relations with the country, a foreign ministry official said Tuesday.

On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) announced that Beijing will invest more than US$60 billion in Africa over the next three years and cancel debt from the least developed countries that have relations with China as he opened the two-day High-Level Dialogue between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives in the Chinese capital.

All 53 African countries that have diplomatic relations with China sent representatives to the conference, which is part of a series of meetings under the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

eSwatini, former known as Swaziland, is the only country in Africa that recognizes Taipei instead of Beijing, and was not invited to the forum.

Asked to comment on Xi's announcement, Department of West Asian and African Affairs Director-General Liu Bang-zyh (劉邦治) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said such a proposal will certainly pressure eSwatini to switch recognition.

The ministry will closely follow diplomatic relations with the African country and seek to enhance ties by providing all necessary assistance to eSwatini within its capability, he noted.

However, Liu declined to comment on whether an increase in the diplomatic budget slated for West Asia and Africa next year is for that purpose.

According to information provided by MOFA, the budget the ministry earmarked for West Asia and Africa for 2019 will increase by 1.78 percent to NT$1.4 billion next year.

MOFA spokesman Andrew Lee (李憲章) explained that the increased budget is meant to be used in Taiwan's diplomatic allies and other countries in the region on all kinds of cooperative projects including medical and healthcare, investment, among others, without going into detail.

Beijing had repeatedly called on eSwatini to change diplomatic recognition but to no avail so far.

Lee previously said Taiwan's new ambassador to eSwatini Jeremy Liang (梁洪昇) presented his credentials to the African country's monarch King Mswati III last week, demonstrating strong and stable bilateral ties.

(By Joseph Yeh)
Enditem/AW