Taipei, June 6 (CNA) Taiwan is concerned about a recent visit to China by Sao Tome and Principe President Manuel Pinto da Costa and has asked the African island nation to avoid hurting its long-held diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Friday.
In a letter dated June 4, President Pinto da Costa told Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou that the visit to Shanghai was made in a private capacity to solicit investment in Sao Tome and Principe's deep-water harbor and promote the nation's economic development, MOFA said.
Pinto da Costa gave the assurance that he did not engage in any official activities during the visit and would by no means undermine diplomatic relations between his country and the Republic of China, according to the foreign ministry.
He also stressed in the letter that he cherished the friendly and cooperative relations with the ROC and will continue to strengthen bilateral relations, MOFA said.
Pinto da Costa said he will lead a delegation to Taiwan at the end of this year or early next year, the ministry said.
MOFA said it knew beforehand that Pinto da Costa was going to China and had summoned Sao Tome and Principe Ambassador to Taiwan Antonio Quintas to express Taiwan's serious concerns.
The ministry said it had also asked the ROC embassy in Sao Tome and Principe to convey Taiwan's opposition to such a visit.
Taiwan and Sao Tome and Principe have maintained close relations for many years and President Ma was warmly received when he visited the African country in January, MOFA noted.
Sao Tome and Principe's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities Natalia Pedro da Costa Umbelina Neto visited Taiwan in early April, and a Presidential Office official Amaro Pereira de Counto is expected to visit in mid-June, while Alcino Pinto, the speaker of National Assembly, will visit in mid-July, the ministry said.
Sao Tome and Principe gained independence from Portugal in July 1975 and established diplomatic relations with the ROC in May 1997. Since then, the ROC has helped the African nation to improve its infrastructure and has engaged in cooperative projects in the areas of health, education, agricultural technology, information technology, and the development of human resources, MOFA said.