Dominican Republic forges diplomatic ties with China

Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic

The statement went on to recognize that there is "only one China in the world" and Taiwan is "an inalienable part of Chinese territory". An unnamed Taiwanese official told Reuters that China had won the country over with a $3.1 bn package of incentives and loans.

China, who won over Panama from Taiwan previous year, warned Taipei's remaining allies in March that recognizing Beijing as the "one China" was the "general and irresistible trend".

Despite not being formally recognized by the majority of countries in the world and being excluded from the United Nations, Taiwan maintains official diplomatic relations with a limited number of countries that recognize Taiwan instead of China.

"The first meeting occurred in late 2016 in a European nation, while the second one took place in a Latin American country in March previous year", the official said.

Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu said the government "deeply regrets that Dominican Republic and China established ties on May 1".

The schism between the two dates back to China's civil war when the Nationalist, or Kuomintang, forces retreated to Taiwan in the late 1940s after being routed by China's communist troops.

Chinese analysts say Beijing will likely continue to use its economic and political clout to lure away other Taiwanese allies until Tsai accedes to China's demands.

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With the departure of the Dominican Republic, now only 19 countries remain on the list. In early 2016, shortly before Ms. Tsai took office, Beijing re-established ties with Gambia, which had maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan for almost two decades. Panama dropped its longtime ties with Taiwan past year and established relations with China, which considers Taiwan to be Chinese territory.

The ministry started worrying about the possibility of losing the Dominican Republic as an ally when it learned of the first meeting, a sentiment that was compounded by then-minister of foreign affairs David Lee's (李大維) failure to secure a meeting with his Dominican Republic counterpart and a high-level aide to Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina when he visited the Caribbean nation in July a year ago. During his stay in Santo Domingo, Lee also met with Taiwan's ambassadors in Latin America to discuss strategies for not losing more allies. Beijing fears she will push for Taiwan's formal independence.

The Taiwan official said the Dominican Republic move was not unexpected.

He said that is extremely regrettable and added that Taiwan will not yield to pressure from Beijing.

Yen also said the tanks could help transfer technology to the island's defence industry, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported on Monday. Beijing sees the island as a renegade province that is part of its territory awaiting reunification.

However, they were divided on whether it was shaky cross-strait relations or warming US-Taiwan ties that prompted China to make its move now.

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