Published: Wed, May 02, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Dominican Republic cuts ties with Taiwan in favour of China

Dominican Republic cuts ties with Taiwan in favour of China

Taiwan has been accusing China of luring small countries, backing it with big investment offers.

The Dominican Republic and China have established diplomatic relations as the Caribbean country became the latest nation to dump Taiwan.

Relations between Beijing and Taipei have nosedived since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, took office previous year.

China has been increasing pressure on Taiwan since the election of President Tsai Ing-wen, a pro-independence candidate from the Democratic Progressive Party.

The switch leaves Taiwan with only 19 diplomatic allies, five of which are in Central America.

Its switch is a diplomatic victory for Beijing, which has often dangled generous aid packages in front of developing nations.

Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas (L) poses with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi after signing documents to formally establish relations, in Beijing on May 1, 2018.

"We strongly condemn China's objectionable decision to use dollar diplomacy to convert Taiwan's diplomatic allies", the statement read.

The figure includes $400 million for a new freeway, $1.6 billion for infrastructure projects and $300 million for a new natural gas power plant.

"The Taiwan Strait is very likely to replace the Korean Peninsula as the hottest flashpoint in the region", National Defense Minister Yen Teh-fa said at a panel. Tsai says she wants to maintain the status quo.

The move signals an end to the ties the Dominican Republic forged 77 years ago with Taiwan-the self-ruled island where the Chinese Nationalist Party established a government in 1949 after losing the civil war to the Chinese Communist Party.

Taiwan is regularly shut out of influential forums as organisers come under pressure from Beijing not to recognise the island as a valid participant.

The diplomat was reportedly Ambassador to the Dominican Republic Tang Ji-zen (湯繼仁).

"We've always known things were not looking rosy here", the official said. Costa Rica switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 2007.

"This important and correct decision by the Dominican Republic absolutely accords with the basic interests of the country and its people", Wang said.

The US-based Defence News website reported back in 2015 that Taipei had been looking for surplus US Army M1 tanks to replace its M60s, but tanks were not a high priority given the island's mountainous interior and coastal wetlands. It was already Tuesday when the new broke in China.

The document presented by Espinal explains that the Dominican government is convinced that this is the right decision for the future of the country and that this step has been widely considered and consulted with broad political and economic sectors of the country, taking into consideration the needs, potential and prospects.

Meanwhile, the Taiwan Defence Industry Development Association said on the weekend that US government officials would not attend a Taiwan-US defence contractors forum in Taiwan next week.

"Today's event will create a stream of diplomatic switching from Taipei in a matter of months, if not in years", Richard W. Hu, a professor of politics at the University of Hong Kong, said in an email.

"However, history and the socioeconomic reality force us now to change direction", he explained.

Beijing and the Vatican severed diplomatic relations in 1951 and remain at odds over the appointment of bishops.

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