Taiwan loses another ally, says won’t help China ties

TAIPEI/BEIJING: Taiwan accused China on Wednesday of using Sao Tome and Principe’s financial woes to push its “one China” policy after the West African state ended ties with the self-ruled island, with Taiwan saying China’s action would not help relations across the Taiwan Strait.
China’s claim to Taiwan have shot back into the spotlight since US President-elect Donald Trump broke diplomatic protocol and spoke with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen this month, angering Beijing.
Trump has also questioned the “one China” policy which the United States has followed since establishing relations with Beijing in 1979, under which the United States acknowledges that Taiwan is part of China.
The election of Tsai from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party this year infuriated Beijing, which suspects she wants to push for the island’s formal independence, though she says she wants to maintain peace with China.
Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lee said Taipei would not engage in “dollar diplomacy” after Sao Tome’s decision.
“We think the Beijing government should not use Sao Tome’s financing black hole as an opportunity to push its ‘one China’ principle,” Lee told a news conference in Taipei. “This behaviour is not helpful to a smooth cross-Strait relationship.”
Tsai held emergency meetings with cabinet officials and security advisers, and told her ministers: “Foreign diplomacy is not a zero-sum game,” according to her office spokesman, Alex Huang.
Tsai’s office said in a statement China’s use of Sao Tome’s financial woes to push its “one China” policy would harm stability across the Taiwan Strait.
“This is absolutely not beneficial to the long-term development of cross-Strait relations,” it said.
China says Taiwan has no right to diplomatic recognition as it is part of China, and the issue is an extremely sensitive one for Beijing.
In Beijing, China welcomed Sao Tome’s decision, without explicitly saying it had established formal relations with the former Portuguese colony or making any mention of a request for financial aid. — Reuters