Friday, February 26, 2021

Taiwan blames ‘Chinese bullying’ after Guyana backs out of office deal

China is gradually whittling down the number of countries which still maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

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Taiwan on Friday blamed Beijing’s “bullying” for Guyana’s decision to renege on a deal for the island to open a representative office in the capital Georgetown, Reuters reports.

The office had already begun initial operations last month, as reported by MalaysiaNow, functioning as a business promotion centre but also as a de facto embassy. The move had been welcomed by Washington and condemned by Beijing.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said that because of Chinese pressure Guyana had “unilaterally” decided to back out. Taipei’s efforts to persuade Guyana to stick to the deal had failed, it said.

“We express our strongest dissatisfaction and condemnation of the Chinese government once again bullying and compressing Taiwan’s international space and Taiwan’s participation in international affairs,” the ministry said.

“The Chinese government’s way of saying one thing and doing another will only highlight its evil nature and alienate people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.”

China’s continued efforts to isolate Taiwan in the international arena runs counter to declarations by its leaders that it is against bullying and that “no one with thick arms and big fists has the final say”, it added.

China is gradually whittling down the number of countries which still maintain formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan and now only 14 do, almost all of them developing countries including Haiti, Nicaragua and tiny Nauru in the Pacific.

America has been particularly concerned at China’s efforts to influence Taiwan’s allies in Latin America and the Caribbean, a traditional area of US influence.

Washington attacked El Salvador’s decision to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China in 2018, saying the change was of grave concern to Washington and warning that China was offering economic inducements to seek domination of the region.

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