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Taiwan aims to retain 'substantial' relations with other nations: Lin

ROC Central News Agency

2017/06/24 18:52:44

Taipei, June 24 (CNA) Premier Lin Chuan (林全) said recently that although Taiwan's diplomacy efforts have suffered some setbacks due to China's suppression, it still has "substantial" relations with many countries and this will be a major focus of its foreign relations.

In an interview with the Japanese newspaper the Nihon Keizai Shinbun, Lin said there have been some problems with communication across the Taiwan Strait, which has affected relations between Taiwan and China.

With regard to Panama, he said China exerted its economic power to undermine Panama's diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

If China continues along that path, the formal relations between Taiwan and its remaining diplomatic allies would be at risk, Lin said, according to the full text of the interview that was posted Saturday on the Cabinet's website.

Noting that there are still a few countries that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Lin said Taiwan's "substantial relations" and "economic relations" with other countries are even more important.

"Of course maintaining relations with our diplomatic allies is still an important part of our diplomacy and we will not give up," Lin said. "We also hope the other side of the strait will understand that snatching our diplomatic allies will do no good to the positive development of cross-strait ties."

If the Taiwanese people do not give in to China's threats of diplomatic isolation, it will eventually desist, he said.

Panama cut formal ties with Taiwan and established diplomatic relations with China on June 13, leaving Taiwan with only 20 diplomatic allies.

Panama was the second country to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, the first being the African country of Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016.

Premier Lin said, however, Taiwan's exchanges and relations with many countries with which it does not have official ties are close and substantial.

Such good relations are possible even with countries that have severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan, Lin said, adding that Taiwan is an open economy and needs to maintain good relations with countries throughout the world.

While Taiwan will continue its efforts to gain more diplomatic allies, it will not focus only on diplomatic ties and ignore substantial relations, he said.

On the reports that the Vatican and Nicaragua were next in China's sights, Lin said all of Taiwan's remaining diplomatic allies may be targeted but Taiwan is willing to keep its good relations with them.

Cross-strait ties have cooled since Tsai took office, mainly due to her refusal to heed Beijing's calls to accept the "1992 consensus" as the sole political foundation of cross-strait exchanges.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

Asked about the issue, Lin said Beijing's so-called "1992 consensus" is just its "one China" policy.

Noting that Beijing described Panama's defection from Taiwan as implementation of its "one China" policy, Lin said if that policy involves wiping out Taiwan, it will not be accepted by the majority of Taiwanese.

(By Elaine Hou and Scarlett Cai)

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