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    May
    01
    2018
    May
    01
    2018
    Dominican Republic drops Taiwan for China
    Dominican Republic drops Taiwan for China
    POLITICS

    Dominican Republic drops Taiwan for China

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    by
    Inkstone staff
    Inkstone staff
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    Taiwan just lost another friend.

    The Dominican Republic announced on Tuesday that it has cut diplomatic ties with the self-ruled island to establish relations with Beijing.

    Countries can only establish formal ties with either Beijing or Taipei, with both governments claiming to be the legitimate ruler of China.

    Flavio Dario Espinal, legal consultant to the Dominican presidential office, said at a news conference that the change was based on the “needs, potential and future prospects” of the Caribbean nation.

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

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    Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas meets Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan in Beijing after the two countries established formal relations on Tuesday.
    Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas meets Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan in Beijing after the two countries established formal relations on Tuesday. Photo: Xinhua

    The move adds to the international isolation of Taiwan, which is only left with 19 official allies: most of them small, poor nations in Latin America and the Pacific.

    Officially known as the Republic of China, Taiwan has in recent years been losing out to Beijing, which is dangling aid packages to win the support of developing nations.

    Taiwan’s foreign minister condemned the Dominican government’s decision on Tuesday, adding that the Caribbean nation had ignored past assistance from Taiwan to accept China’s false promises.

    A Taiwan Foreign Ministry official said China had offered the Dominican Republic a package of at least $3.1 billion in investments and loans to get them to swear allegiance to Beijing, Reuters reported.

    Children playing soccer at El Valle Beach in Samana, Dominican Republic in 2014.
    Children playing soccer at El Valle Beach in Samana, Dominican Republic in 2014. Photo: Xinhua

    At the end of the Chinese Civil War 1949, China’s Nationalist government fled to Taiwan after losing the mainland to the Communist Party of China. At the time, it was still recognized by the United Nations and non-Communist countries.

    But most of them have since ended their ties with Taiwan to form diplomatic relations with Beijing.

    The US ditched its formal relations with Taiwan in 1979, although it remains the island’s main ally and the two sides work together unofficially.

    China has stepped up putting pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen, the leader of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, was elected president of Taiwan in 2016.

    “Going after Taiwan’s allies is just one component of China’s strategy to isolate Taiwan,” says Jonathan Sullivan, a China expert with the University of Nottingham, UK.

    “There is still a lot of room for China to increase this pressure, and it is likely that other allies will be targeted, especially if Tsai wins a second term.”

    Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou visited the Dominican Republic in 2015.
    Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou visited the Dominican Republic in 2015. Photo: AFP

    Over the past two years, Beijing has persuaded Panama as well as the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe to cut their long-standing ties with Taiwan.

    More diplomatic changes may come soon.

    The Vatican has been in talks with China over the appointment of bishops in the mainland.

    The Holy See is likely to cut formal relations with Taipei if it reaches an agreement with Beijing.

    INKSTONE STAFF
    INKSTONE STAFF
    The Inkstone team brings you the latest stories from an unsurpassed network of reporters, editors, producers and video journalists. We cover news, politics, business, economics, tech, entertainment and what’s buzzing in Chinese social media.

    INKSTONE STAFF
    INKSTONE STAFF
    The Inkstone team brings you the latest stories from an unsurpassed network of reporters, editors, producers and video journalists. We cover news, politics, business, economics, tech, entertainment and what’s buzzing in Chinese social media.

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