Dominican Republic establishes ties with China in blow to Taiwan

A US M1A2 Abrams tank fires during the Noble Partner 2016 joint military exercise at the Vaziani training area outside Tbilisi

Hottest Flashpoint in the Region’ Taiwan Wants US Tanks to Counter China AFP 2018 Vano Shlamov

The Dominican Republic severed ties with Taiwan this week, ostensibly in exchange for a $3 billion investment package from China, according to Reuters. Beijing considers it a renegade province to be brought back into the fold and is increasing worldwide pressure to prevent any recognition of the island.

Wu also said that Beijing's aggressive action will only further push away the people of Taiwan, a majority of whom already favor maintaining political separation from China for as long as needed, while a significant number of those even desire to assert Taiwan's status as an independent sovereign country. The move deepens the island's worldwide isolation while its giant neighbour flexes its economic and political might on the global stage.

The Dominican Republic said it believed the switch would be "extraordinarily positive for the future of our country" and that it recognised Taiwan as "an inalienable part of the Chinese territory".

He said China offered the Dominican Republic a huge amount of money to establish diplomatic ties.

Dominican Republic Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas (L) poses with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi after signing documents to formally establish relations, in Beijing on May 1, 2018.

In June previous year, Panama cut ties with Taipei to open relations with Beijing.

"We strongly condemn China's objectionable decision to use dollar diplomacy to convert Taiwan's diplomatic allies", the ministry writes.

The switch leaves Taiwan with only 19 diplomatic allies, five of which are in Central America.

The Vatican is possibly next on the list, as the Holy See and China edge closer to an accord on the appointment of bishops in China.

The Dominican Republic started its commercial and political contacts with China in the middle of the last decade.

The last country to sever ties with Taiwan in favor of China was Panama, in June previous year.

China has made blunt shows of force, including military drills in the Taiwan Strait last month that officials said were planned with Taiwan in mind.

Taipei's Mainland Affairs Council slammed the move, blaming Beijing for undermining cross-strait ties.

Wu reminded the global community of China's notorious record of not following through on promises it has made to Taiwan's former allies to shift their allegiance. Ex-foreign minister David Lee visited again in July 2017, shortly after Panama switched recognition to Beijing.

"President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic has ignored our long-term partnership, the wishes of the people of the Dominican Republic, and the years of development assistance provided by Taiwan, to accept false promises of investment and aid by China", Wu told reporters.

The Chinese government continues to be critical of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen's administration.

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

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