Dominican Republic embraces China, severs ties with Taiwan
02 May, 2018, 02:00 | Author: Angel Logan
The Dominican Republic and China announced they were establishing diplomatic relations Tuesday as the Caribbean country became the latest nation to dump Taiwan, leaving the island with just 19 diplomatic allies around the globe.
Before that, the Dominican Republic is one of only 20 countries in the world that still maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
In response to the Dominican Republic's decision, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu said on May 1 that such a move is "deeply unfortunate" and also said that Taiwan strongly condemns Beijing's plot to take away its diplomatic allies.
Taipei reacted angrily to the news, which left the island with 19 diplomatic allies around the world - mostly small and poor countries in the Pacific and the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic being the largest before the latest development.
Washington has close unofficial ties with Taiwan and provides the island with arms under the Taiwan Relations Act, but the United States has formal diplomatic relations only with Beijing.
China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
It says it will also recognise Taiwan as an "inalienable part of Chinese territory". Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media.
Its switch is a diplomatic victory for Beijing, which has often dangled generous aid packages in front of developing nations.
Seizing the opportunity, Taiwan signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the Dominican Republic and gave it 50 high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles, also known as Humvees, in February this year, the official said.
Yen added that Beijing would "hold more long-range military training and increase joint forces operations when engaged in such activities in waters near Taiwan".
Wang Yi, China's foreign minister, described the Dominican Republic's shift as part of a broader trend in Beijing's favor.
Its actions had damaged cross-strait relations and eroded trust, said Wu, who blamed China's financial incentives for ending the 77-year alliance with Dominican Republic.
The governments in Beijing and Taipei insist that countries can not recognise both of them.
The government of President Tsai Ing-wen is trying to push Taiwan's worldwide profile but is coming up against a concerted effort by Beijing to shrink its space on global platforms. Lee met with Taiwan's ambassadors in Latin America to discuss strategies for not losing more allies.
"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.
He emphasized the significance of the decision, saying that it will be in the interests of the Dominican Republic and its people. Beijing considers the island a breakaway province and eyes reunification.
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