Swaziland lone African country to support Taiwan

Swaziland lone African country to support Taiwan

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen speaks in the Los Angeles Overseas Chinese Banquet during visit to the United States on August 12, 2018. Reuters

Warning China not to play "mind games" with it, Swaziland, Taiwan's last remaining ally in Africa, on Wednesday rebuffed Beijing's overtures to switch ties before next month's summit with African leaders in the Chinese capital. 

El Salvador, one of the 18 countries which recognised Taiwan as a separate nation, on Tuesday broke off ties with it and established diplomatic relations with China as Beijing continues to chip away Taiwan’s dwindling allies, alluring them with its economic clout. China, which is holding a major two-day summit of African leaders starting from September 3, has urged Swaziland to join the event by severing links with Taiwan. 

Briefing the media here about the summit, China's assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong said Swaziland did not have relations with Beijing "for reasons that everyone knows". "We look forward to and hope that all African nations, with none left behind, can take part in positive China-Africa cooperation, and become a member of the largest family get-together,” Chen was quoted as saying by Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

In response to China's call, Swaziland's foreign affairs minister Mgwagwa Gamedze, who is on a visit to Taiwan, said his country will not switch its allegiance to China. "They (China) must not play mind games because our relationship with Taiwan is over 50 years so we will not dump them," the report quoted Gamedze as saying to Taiwanese media.

"We have no desire to change camps since Taiwan has been good to us," he said.

Leaders of all African countries, except Swaziland, are expected to attend the summit.

Beijing slams United States

Meanwhile, China also hit out at the US for threatening El Salvador for ditching Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said why should the US object when it has recognised China itself adhering to the 'One China' policy.

“The US established ties with China nearly four decades ago. However, the US government is now thwarting and even deterring other countries from establishing normal relations with China,” Lu said.

The US ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes, in a tweet sharply has criticised the decision of the Central American nation, saying it is  “worrisome for many reasons” and “without doubt this will impact our relationship with the government”.

While the US has recognised China and adheres to the 'One China' policy four decades ago, it remained close to Taiwan.

The 'One China' policy states that Taiwan and Tibet are part of China’s mainland. China made the 'One China' policy a prerequisite for countries to establish diplomatic ties with it.

China views Taiwan as its inalienable part which has to be reunified with the mainland, even by force.   

Earlier, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media that the summit of the African leaders will "usher in a new era for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Africa's development".  

"China will engage with Africa in equal consultation, plan together, work together and benefit together," he said.

"Africa is a natural extension of the BRI and also there is a close historical links. It is an important area for the BRI. Many African countries are keen interested in participating in BRI cooperation,” he said.  

India’s has been vocal in expressing its opposition to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which traverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The $50 billion CPEC is a flagship project of the BRI, which is a pet initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

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