Taiwan on Wednesday accused China of using Sao Tome and Principe’s financial woes to push its “one China’’ policy.
This was coming on the heels after the small West African state ended ties with the self-ruled island, with Taipei saying that the the move would not help relations across the Taiwan Strait.
China’s claims to Taiwan had shot back into the spotlight since U.S. President-elect Donald Trump broke diplomatic protocol and spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen earlier this month, angering Beijing.
Trump had also questioned the “one China’’ policy which the United States had followed since assuming relations with Beijing in 1979, under which Washington acknowledged China’s position that Taiwan was part of China.
The election of Tsai from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party earlier this year infuriated Beijing, which suspects she wanted to push for the island’s formal independence, though she added that she wanted to maintain peace with China.
Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lee said Taipei would not engage in “dollar diplomacy” after Sao Tome’s decision.
“We think the Beijing government should not use Sao Tome’s financing black hole as an opportunity to push its ‘one China’ principle, this behaviour is not helpful to a smooth cross-Strait relationship,’’ Lee said.
Taiwan’s presidential office said China’s use of Sao Tome’s financial woes to push its “one China’’ policy would harm stability across the Taiwan Strait.
“This is absolutely not beneficial to the long-term development of cross-Strait relations,’’ it said in a statement.
In Beijing, China welcomed the move, without explicitly saying it had established formal relations with the former Portuguese colony or making any mention of a request for financial aid.
“We have noted the statement from the government of Sao Tome and Principe on the 20th to break so-called ‘diplomatic’ ties with Taiwan.
“China expresses appreciation of this, and welcomes Sao Tome back onto the correct path of the ‘one China’ principle,’’ the ministry said in a statement.
According to China, Taiwan has no right to diplomatic recognition as it is part of China, and the issue is an extremely sensitive one for Beijing.
Defeated Nationalist forces fled to Taiwan at the end of a civil war in 1949 and Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring Taiwan under its control.
In Africa, only Burkina Faso and Swaziland now maintain formal ties with Taiwan.
President Tsai will visit Central American allies Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador in January 2017.
“We now have 21 allies left and we must cherish them,’’ Lee said.
China and Taiwan had for years tried to poach each other’s allies, often dangling generous aid packages in front of developing nations.
But they began an unofficial diplomatic truce after signing a series of landmark trade and economic agreements in 2008 following the election of the China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan’s president.
Sao Tome and Principe’s tiny island economy is heavily dependent on cocoa exports but its position in the middle of the oil-rich Gulf of Guinea has raised interest in its potential as a possible future oil and gas producer.
Diplomatic sources in Beijing have previously said Sao Tome was likely high on China’s list of countries to lure away from Taiwan.
In 2013, Sao Tome said China planned to open a trade mission to promote projects there, 16 years after it broke off relations over Sao Tome’s diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.
Edited by: Abigael Joshua/Ese E. Ekama
Reuters/NAN) U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s pick of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as ambassador to China sends a positive sign for ties, Chinese state media said.
But it warned that, the envoy will have to live up to earlier statements rejecting confrontation with Beijing.
The appointment of Branstad, seen in China as a longstanding friend who first forged ties with President Xi Jinping 30 years ago during an agricultural research trip to Iowa, may help ease trade tension between the world’s two largest economies, diplomats and trade experts have said.
But the move comes even as Trump has directed fiery rhetoric at China, and surrounded himself with advisers and cabinet members who advocate a tough line on Beijing.
Branstad had rejected China-bashing campaign rhetoric in an interview during Xi’s 2015 state visit to the United States, China’s official Xinhua news agency said.
Xinhua cited the governor as saying he was “hopeful” the next president would “lead to additional cooperation, additional trade and not confrontation” with China.
“Now it is his turn to walk his talk together with Trump,” the news agency said in a commentary on Thursday.
“His expertise on China and friendship with Chinese and U.S. leaders are expected to facilitate him in lubricating the development of the most important bilateral relationship in the world,” Xinhua said.
Branstad’s nomination, if confirmed, “will be a positive move made by Trump toward a healthy and stable relationship between Beijing and Washington,” it added.
China’s Foreign Ministry has called Branstad an “old friend of the Chinese people”, and welcomed his selection.
Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton in last month’s election, has said that when he takes office he intends to declare China a currency manipulator, meaning it keeps the yuan artificially low to make its exports cheap, and has threatened punitive tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the U.S..
Added to that, his unusual decision to accept a call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen this month, provoked a diplomatic protest from Beijing, which sees Taiwan as a renegade province.
Trump’s transition team played down the exchange as a courtesy call, but the White House had to reassure China that its decades-old “one-China” policy was intact.
Branstad’s nomination, which will be formally made once Trump is sworn in on Jan. 20, was well received in the U.S., even among some Democrats. (Reuters/ NAN)
(Edited by: Julius Enehikhuere)
China has called on the United States not to let Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen transit when she visits Guatemala in January, a media report said on Tuesday in Beijing.
China made the call days after President-elect Donald Trump irked Beijing by speaking to Tsai in a break with decades of precedent.
“China is deeply suspicious of Tsai, whom it thinks wants to push for the formal independence of Taiwan, a self-governing island nation that Beijing regards as a renegade province,’’ it reported.
Her call with Trump on Friday was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president with a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition to China from Taiwan in 1979.
“Tsai is due to visit Guatemala, one of its small bands of diplomatic allies, on Jan. 11 to Jan.12,’’ its Foreign Minister Carlos Raul Morales told newsmen.
He gave no details on what President Jimmy Morales and Tsai would discuss.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Liberty Times has reported on Monday that she was planning to transit in New York early January on her way to visit Central American allies Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Taiwan has not formally confirmed Tsai’s trip, but visits to its allies in the region are normally combined with transit stops in the U.S. and meetings with Taiwan-friendly officials.
Asked about the possibility of a Tsai stopover in the U.S., China’s Foreign Ministry said the “one China” principle, which states Taiwan is part of China, was commonly recognised by the international community.
“As for the issue you raise of a ‘transit’ in the U.S. by the leader of the Taiwan region, her real aim is self-evident.
“China hopes the U.S. does not allow her transit, and does not send any wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces,’’ the ministry said in a statement.
Taiwan has been self governing since 1949 when Nationalist forces fled to the island after defeat by Mao Zedong’s communists in China’s civil war.
Taiwan’s Presidential Office said media reports about a January trip were “excessive speculation”.
In Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang reiterated that any presidential travel details would be issued at the appropriate time.
El Salvador’s government said it was working with Taiwan on plans for a visit by Tsai in the second week of January, but gave no specific dates.
However, the government of Nicaragua had no immediate comment.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega is set to be sworn in for a third consecutive term on Jan. 10, however, so Tsai’s trip to Guatemala would dovetail with that ceremony.
It added that the trip would take place before Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, and Tsai’s delegation would seek to meet Trump’s team, including his White House chief of staff Reince Priebus.
Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Morayo Omolade
China on Saturday lodged a diplomatic protest after US President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the “petty” move.
The 10-minute telephone call with Taiwan’s leadership was the first by a US president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of “one China”.
China’s Foreign Ministry said it had lodged “stern representations” with what it called the “relevant U.S. side”, urging the careful handling of the Taiwan issue to avoid any unnecessary disturbances in ties.
“The one China principle is the political basis of the China-U.S. relationship,’’ it said.
The wording implied the protest had gone to the Trump camp, but the ministry provided no explanation.
Speaking earlier, hours after Friday’s telephone call, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointedly blamed Taiwan for the exchange, rather than Trump.
“This is just the Taiwan side engaging in a petty action, and cannot change the ‘one China’ structure already formed by the international community.
“I believe that it will not change the longstanding ‘one China’ policy of the United States government,’’ Wang said at an academic forum in Beijing.
In comments at the same forum, Wang noted how quickly President Xi Jinping and Trump had spoken by telephone after Trump’s victory, and that Trump had praised China as a great country.
Wang said that exchange had sent “a very positive signal about the future development of Sino-U.S. relations”.
According to an official Chinese transcript, Taiwan was not mentioned in that call.
Trump said on Twitter that Tsai had initiated the call he had with the Taiwan president.
“The President of Taiwan called me today to wish my congratulations on winning the Presidency, thank you!’’ he said.
Alex Huang, a spokesman for Tsai, said of course both sides agreed ahead of time before making contact.
“Trump and Tsai noted that close economic, political and security ties exist between Taiwan and the U.S.,’’ the Trump transition team said in a statement.
Taiwan’s presidential office said the two discussed strengthening bilateral interactions and establishing closer cooperation.
Report says China considers Taiwan a wayward province and has never renounced the use of force to bring it under its control.
However, relations between the two sides have worsened since Tsai, who heads the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, was elected president in January.
Abiodun Oluleye/Ismail Abdulaziz
China on Thursday issued its highest weather warning as Typhoon Meranti made landfall on the southeastern coast, bringing heavy rains and gales of up to 48 metres per second.
The world’s strongest typhoon so far this year was also the most severe in southern Fujian province since local meteorological records were kept in 1949.
“It is so wretched, many trees by road sides have fallen, and there are also floods blocking traffic,’’ the report said.
The storm caused severe damage to the power grid in Xiamen, causing mass blackout and disrupting electricity supply in outlying islands, according to Xiamen Power Supply Co.
The typhoon hit as China was still recovering from a summer of unusually severe flooding, hail and landslides that had ravaged areas all over the country since June.
In Taiwan, one person was killed, 38 injured and about one million families left without electricity due to torrential rain and strong wind brought by the typhoon, authorities said.
Meranti battered the southern part of the island on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of 6,500 residents, the Central Emergency Operation Centre said.
The body of a fisherman was found on Thursday after the man had fallen into the waters at Kaohsiung Harbour in southern Taiwan the day before.
About 994,270 families were without electricity and 722,700 households without tap water on the eve of the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, one of the most important Chinese festivals, which started Thursday.
According to the ministry of National Defense, over 4,000 military staff was dispatched to disaster areas to help affected residents.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said during an inspection of the emergency operation center that he appreciate the military assistance offered to local governments on evacuation and relocation.
The Central Weather Bureau lifted the warnings for Meranti but urged people to stay alert in mountain and coastal areas, with the Water Resources Agency issuing flood warnings to counties in eastern and southern Taiwan.
Meanwhile, bureau forecaster Luo Ya-ying said Typhoon Malakas, which has formed in the Western Pacific, could impact the northern and eastern parts of Taiwan on Friday and Saturday.
(Edited by: Oluleye Abiodun/ Julius Enehikhuere)