Dominican Republic cuts ties with Taiwan in favour of China

Frederick Owens
May 2, 2018

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.

China has yet to secure the jewel in Taiwan's diplomatic crown, Vatican City, despite reports of "relentless" attempt to improve relations on behalf of Taiwan's foreign ministry.

The government had concerns about the stability of its relationship with the Dominican Republic, after intelligence indicated that it had since 2016 talked twice with Beijing about the establishment of diplomatic ties, Wu said.

China offered the Dominican Republic a $3.1 billion package of investments and loans to get the Caribbean nation to switch allegiances, a Taiwan official said on Tuesday, in a diplomatic blow to the self-ruled island.

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

The Caribbean country has ended 77 years of diplomatic dealings with Taiwan and opened formal relations with China.

China's new diplomatic ally in the region is some 1,300 kilometres (800 miles) southeast of the United States. The latter is rumored to be considering a switch in its pursuit of better relations with China, as The New York Times indicated earlier this year, mostly depending on a deal on the appointment of bishops. Ex-foreign minister David Lee visited again in July 2017, shortly after Panama switched recognition to Beijing.

Wang told reporters that adhering to the one-China principle is the global community's common understanding.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said he "deeply regrets" the Dominican decision. "Its actions had damaged cross-strait relations and eroded trust", said Wu.

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China's foreign ministry said the move was a political one with no economic pre-conditions, but that now they have established ties, China will "proactively promote mutually beneficial co-operation in all areas".

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was informed of the severance of ties yesterday morning, Wu added. Beijing fears she will push for Taiwan's formal independence.

In Taipei, Sonia Urbom, the spokeswoman for the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto U.S. embassy, said: "These efforts to alter the status quo are unhelpful and do not contribute to regional stability".

"We've always known things were not looking rosy here", the official said.

He emphasized the significance of the decision, saying that it will be in the interests of the Dominican Republic and its people. "We highly appreciate this".

"Today's event will create a stream of diplomatic switching from Taipei in a matter of months, if not in years", Richard W. Hu, a professor of politics at the University of Hong Kong, said in an email.

"History and socioeconomics reality now force us to change course", he said.

The "One China" policy, which states Taiwan and Tibet as part of China, forms part of basis for all the countries to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing.

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