Published: Sat, May 26, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Taiwan retaliates over China's poaching of allies | Cross-Strait Affairs

Taiwan retaliates over China's poaching of allies | Cross-Strait Affairs

Burkina Faso has cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, following intense Chinese pressure on African countries to break with what it regards as a wayward province.

Earlier this month, the Dominican Republic established diplomatic relations with China and severed ties with Taiwan.

"The evolution of the world and the defined socio-economic challenges of our region required us to reconsider our position", Burkina Faso's foreign affairs minister, Alpha Barry, told journalists.

The Chinese are now, more than ever, of the view that the Taiwanese government wants to become an internationally accepted and independent state.

Tension between democratic Taiwan and its big neighbour has increased in recent months, with China suspicious the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen wants to push for the island's formal independence. Tsai said Taiwan would not engage in "dollar diplomacy" and would not cower to China's pressure.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu confirmed the move at a briefing Thursday.

Wu said that Taiwan can not compete with China's financial resources.

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Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang would not say directly when China would establish ties with Burkina Faso, saying instead there was nothing surprising about countries wanting to develop normal relations with China.

Some analysts say Chinese President Xi Jinping, one of the most powerful Chinese leaders in decades, seems determined to bring Taiwan under Beijing's control during his time in office, something that would place him in the history books alongside Mao Zedong.

The double loss leaves Taiwan with diplomatic recognition from just 18 states, raising concerns that China is accelerating efforts to isolate the island from the worldwide community-just as U.S. President Donald Trump shows renewed interest in shoring up ties with the island.

China is Africa's largest trade partner, with massive investments in mining, construction and banking, although it has been less active to date in Burkina.

Some countries have switched back and forth between Beijing and Taipei several times.

In March, China said it was in the best interests of Taiwan's allies to recognize an "irresistible trend" and ditch Taipei in favor of "one China" ruled by Beijing. His ministry accused Beijing of working to end Taiwan's 24-year relationship with Burkina Faso.

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