Taipei not losing allies to Beijing's influence: Foreign minister

Taipei not losing allies to Beijing's influence: Foreign minister

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) yesterday reaffirmed the R.O.C.'s close diplomatic relations with its allies amid an opposition lawmaker's allegation that at least six of Taiwan's allies could soon end ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing.

During an interpellation session yesterday in the Legislative Yuan, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) said that "Chinese good will" is the main reason that Taiwan is able to maintain diplomatic ties with its 22 allies worldwide now.

"The reason why Beijing has yet to decide to steal Taipei's allies is because it wants to show support to the ruling Ma Ying-jeou administration," Tsai said.

If China ultimately decides to do so, Taiwan will be facing a diplomatic crisis when at least six of its diplomatic allies could change their diplomatic recognition to Beijing instead, the lawmaker said.

Tsai did not mention the six allies by name, but he pointed out that the Vatican, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala, among others, could recognise Beijing instead of Taipei soon. Among them, the Vatican is most likely to choose Beijing in favour of Taipei, he said.

In response, Lin yesterday refuted the allegation raised by the DPP lawmaker, stressing that the R.O.C. has maintained close, stable and robust ties with all of its 22 diplomatic allies.

He stressed that Taiwan's diplomatic relations with its allies are not based on Chinese good will.

Taiwan has made significant contributions to stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region. It also works hard to explore international spaces.

Lin also noted that most of Taiwan's allies are aware and have a full understanding of the special relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Taking the Holy See as an example, Minister Lin later told reporters that the two sides have maintained solid and friendly ties for decades.

He noted that Pope Francis' recent gesture of good will sent to the Chinese government in the hope of establishing official dialogue was only meant to improve the situation of the Catholics in mainland China.

But the main issue is still whether China has the resolution and determination to become a nation of religious freedom, he said.

On the other hand, the R.O.C. has democracy and freedom. Lin, therefore, said it is unlikely that the Holy See would break ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing in the near future.

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