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Taiwan to face China's diplomatic offensive head on: foreign minister

ROC Central News Agency

2017/06/17 09:41:03

Taipei, June 17 (CNA) Foreign Minister David Lee (李大維) said Saturday that Taiwan would face China's efforts to isolate the self-governing island "head on" after Taiwan lost a second diplomatic ally to China in six months.

"With the other side of the Taiwan Strait clearly intending to take the offensive, we cannot but face it head on," Lee told reporters. He did not elaborate.

Lee made the comment early Saturday at Taoyuan International Airport, where he and other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs greeted diplomats returning from Panama after the Central American country cut off official ties with Taiwan on June 13 Taipei Time.

That same morning, Panama's Vice President and Foreign Minister Isabel Saint Malo signed a joint communique with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) in Beijing on the establishment of formal ties between their two countries.

The returning diplomats were led by Miguel Tsao (曹立傑), who went to Panama City as ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan) just a month ago.

Panama became the second country to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing since the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) came to power in May 2016, leaving Taiwan with 20 diplomatic allies in the world. The island state of São Tomé and Príncipe in West Africa turned its back on Taiwan on Dec. 21, 2016.

In addition to wooing Taiwan's allies, China has taken other measures aimed at isolating Taiwan and downgrading its relations with foreign countries over the past year.

They include obstructing Taiwan's bid to attend the annual World Healthy Assembly as an observer, as it had done between 2009 and 2016, putting pressure on China's allies -- such as Nigeria -- to force Taiwan to move its representative offices from their capital cities and/or change the names of those missions.

Just a year ago, a non-governmental humanitarian mission to Kyrgyzstan was aborted late in its planning stages by the Central Asian country's foreign ministry, which cited its one-China policy.

Liu Chi-chun (劉啟群), head of the Taiwan Root Medical Peace Corps (台灣路竹會), said that was the first time since the founding of the group in 1995 that it was rejected because of apparent pressure from Beijing.

A volunteer group organized by the charity organization had originally planned to travel to the Kyrgyz Republic in late July 23 to provide medical services to the Kyrgyz people living in remote area.

While the group's coordination with the local government went smoothly, the Kyrgyz foreign ministry would not approve the visit.

Beijing considers Taiwan as part of the Chinese territory, to be reunited by force if necessary.


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