Relocation of Taiwan's representative office in Nigeria in progress

08/03/2017 02:19 PM
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Antonio Chen (陳俊賢)
Antonio Chen (陳俊賢)

Taipei, Aug. 3 (CNA) Taiwan has found a suitable place in the Nigerian city of Lagos to be used as its trade office, after being told by the West African country to relocate the office away from Nigeria's capital of Abuja.

"We have found a suitable property in Lagos," said Antonio Chen (陳俊賢), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of West Asian and African Affairs, at a regular news briefing.

The property will undergo renovation, which is expected to take two months, Chen said. After that, staff at the Abuja office will relocate to the new office, he added.

The Nigerian government ordered Taiwan in January to move its office from the capital, change the name of the office -- the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) -- and cut the number of office staff.

It also demanded March 31 that the trade office's director, Morgan Chao (趙家寶), leave the country, saying that it could not guarantee his safety. Chao has since returned to Taiwan.

On June 30, Nigeria sent armed police to seal off the trade office and force the staff to leave.

Taiwan has lodged several protests with the Nigerian government over a series of moves against Taiwan's interests, and has ordered the Nigerian Trade Office in Taiwan out of Taipei, based on the principles of equality and dignity.

Nigeria's moves have been made due to pressure from China, which has stepped up its suppression of Taiwan in the international community since the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016.

In mid-June, for example, China enticed Panama to switch diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing and cut all official ties with Taiwan, the second ally Beijing has lured away since Tsai took power.

That leaves only 20 countries that officially recognize Taiwan.

Tsai's government has taken a less conciliatory stance toward Beijing than its predecessor, and Beijing has cut off official contacts and taken a harsher stance against Taiwan as a result.

(By Elaine Hou)


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