Taiwan loses Dominican Republic to China

Hannah Rogers
May 1, 2018

It has since established a democratically elected government but Beijing insists that Taiwan is part of China and vows to reunify with it - if necessary by...

Soto Jimenez also told the vice foreign minister that he only learnt of his government's decision to cut ties with Taiwan on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.

"President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic has ignored our long-term partnership, the wishes of the people of the Dominican Republic and the years of development assistance provided by Taiwan, to accept false promises of investment and aid by China", he said at a news briefing after the announcement.

The decision whittles down Taiwan's remaining diplomatic allies to 19, comprised of African, Caribbean, Latin American and Pacific island nations, as well as the Vatican.

Beijing has put more pressure on her government and begun chipping away the small number of states that formally recognize Taiwan as a country.

Tsai's ruling Democratic Progressive Party says it wants stable relations with China, but it hasn't followed Tsai's predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, in endorsing the "one China" principle.

The Caribbean nation severed relations with Taiwan on Tuesday.

Speaking at a press conference (link in Spanish), Flavio Darío Espinal, legal adviser to the Dominican president, cited "history and socioeconomic reality" as the reason for switching its allegiance.

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It said that even without formal diplomatic ties, China was already its second largest supplier of imported products.

Neither Wang, nor Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado, who stood by his side at the Beijing news conference, took questions from reporters. Last October, for example, Taiwan donated $30 million in military equipment to the Dominican Republic.

Mainland China and Taiwan split following a civil war in 1949.

"We are deeply grateful for the cooperation we've shared for years", he said. He said that had allowed the development of very important programmes for his country.

"We have taken the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, with the conviction that this decision will be extraordinarily positive for the future of our country", read an official statement by the Caribbean country.

President Tsai of Taiwan said that her administration "would be willing to do anything that is helpful for peace and stability" and that she was ready to meet President Xi of China "without any political precondition and on an equal footing".

Beijing has increasingly engaged in this tactic as well. The island is excluded from the United Nations and other multinational bodies that require official governmental recognition at China's insistence.

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