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Taiwan committed to making friends with African nations: minister

ROC Central News Agency

2015/12/09 19:02:28

Taipei, Dec. 9 (CNA) Taiwan remains committed to making friends with African countries and will continue to inform them of the kind of assistance it can offer, Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said Wednesday.

Taiwan has always worked hard to promote relations with foreign countries, Lin said, in response to reporters' questions on China's growing influence in Africa and whether it affects Taiwan's diplomatic efforts there.

Lin said Taiwan maintains close ties with all three of its African allies and has carried out development assistance programs in those countries, namely Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa; Sao Tome and Principe, an island country off the West African coast; and Swaziland in Southern Africa.

Taiwan has also conducted trade exchanges with other states on the continent such as South Africa, Lin said, in response to reporters' questions on the sidelines of an exhibition.

The exhibition, which opened Wednesday, is dedicated to the memory of late Republic of China diplomat Yang Hsi-kun (楊西崑), who was known as 'Mr. Africa' because of his significant role in the development of ROC's (Taiwan's) relations with South Africa.

Lin told reporters that although China is spending a lot of money to promote its diplomacy in Africa, that does not hinder Taiwan's efforts to develop relations with African countries.

Taiwan will continue to make friends with African countries and help them understand the assistance it can provide and the value of ties with Taiwan, Lin said.

Taiwan, however, will not engage in a diplomatic competition with China, he added.

Since 2008, when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office, Taiwan and China have maintained a diplomatic truce, ending years of competition to gain diplomatic allies.

Although ties across the Taiwan Strait have improved since 2008, there have been concerns that tensions will rise again and China will restart its efforts to lure Taiwan's 22 diplomatic allies if the opposition Democratic Progressive Party is returned to power in Taiwan's elections on Jan. 16.

(By Tang Pei-chun and Elaine Hou)

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