The Federal Government of Nigeria has severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and has ordered the country to move its trade mission from the capital Abuja to Lagos. Nigeria says it no longer recognises Taiwan as a country and has pledged its support for One China.
More and more African countries are cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China.
Taiwan has accused China of interference. The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry says the island has no diplomatic relations with Nigeria but has an office for handling business in Abuja.
“The Foreign Ministry expresses solemn opposition and condemns the Nigerian government’s rude, unreasonable, violent political hype-up that serves mainland China’s political aim,” says Taiwan Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, Eleanor Wang.
21 countries and governments, including Swaziland and Guatemala, still maintain official ties with Taiwan.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province ineligible for state to state relations, and one that could be taken back by force if necessary.
The break with Taiwan comes during the Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Nigeria. He met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
“China is willing to encourage African countries to build their confidence, work in unity and help each other, so that they can cope with various new challenges, China is willing to work with African countries to continuously explore new ideas and new approaches for China-Africa cooperation,” says China’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Wang Yi.
Wang Yi says no matter how powerful China becomes in future, it will continue to stand side by side with developing countries and Africa.
China says it regards developing countries as the foundation of its foreign policy and Africa is its cornerstone.
– By Lehana Tsotetsi