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Taiwan won't try to form diplomatic ties with new allies: FM

ROC Central News Agency

2018/05/08 18:06:43

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) Taiwan won't attempt to establish formal diplomatic relations with any new countries despite just losing a longtime ally in the Caribbean to Beijing last week, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Tuesday.

Taiwan announced it was cutting diplomatic ties with the Dominican Republic on May 1 after the Caribbean country switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. The Dominican Republic's decision left Taiwan with only 19 diplomatic allies in the world.

Wu said the ministry currently has no plans to form diplomatic ties with new allies to retaliate against Beijing's continuous attempts to poach Taipei's allies.

"No, we don't have a pocket list of countries that we wish to form ties with," Wu said during a media roundtable.

The ministry will continue to solidify ties with its existing diplomatic allies and let them know that the assistance offered by Taiwan can actually help their people, leaving them more willing to continue to be friends with Taiwan, Wu contended.

But he stressed that Taiwan won't engage in money or checkbook diplomacy to compete with Beijing over diplomatic allies.

"I think our nationals won't support us if we have to spend a lot of money to establish ties with one or two new allies," Wu said.

Beijing's decision was widely seen as part of China's mounting campaign to pressure Taiwan since President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration, which has adopted a less conciliatory attitude toward China than its predecessor, took office on May 20, 2016.

Taiwan previously had ties severed with Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016 and Panama in June 2017 and has failed in bids to participate in regular meetings of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 2017.

Earlier Tuesday, the ministry expressed regret that Taiwan was once again being excluded from this year's WHA meeting, after the registration deadline for the forum expired without Taiwan receiving an invitation to attend.

Asked to comment, Wu criticized Beijing and especially its foreign affairs agencies for their recent moves, saying they will only tear the people of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait further apart.

Such moves are also not consistent with Chinese President Xi Jinping's (習近平) previous pledge in March to make efforts to win the hearts of Taiwan's people, Wu said.

Wu said that even though Taiwan was not invited to the WHA, being held in Geneva from May 21 to 26, a delegation to be led by Health and Welfare Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) will travel to Geneva anyway to meet with officials from countries participating in the WHA to conduct exchanges.

(By Joseph Yeh)

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