(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – On May 1st, the Dominican Republic and China have announced the establishment of diplomatic ties.
This was the result of China’s efforts in offering vast financial incentives for the Dominican Republic to end their 77 years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan. It also follows China’s actions last year in establishing diplomatic relations with Panama. The Republic of China (Taiwan) government is deeply upset by China’s actions.
To protect both the nation’s dignity and sovereignty, the government announces the termination of relations with the Dominican Republic, effective immediately. This extends to the immediate termination of all cooperative projects and assistance. Our embassy officials and staff at technical missions will also be repatriated.
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 developmental assistance provided by Taiwan, to accept false promises of investment and aid by China. Since 2016, President Medina has made two trips to China for talks on establishing diplomatic ties.
Given these interactions, MOFA has long recognized the instability of relations between Taiwan and the Dominican Republic. MOFA has followed their engagements closely. In order to clearly express the importance attached to the bilateral relations, the government dispatched then-Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee in July 2017 in an attempt to strengthen ties. In August and October of the same year, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Maria Liu also visited the Dominican Republic for discussions.
Initially, this appeared to stabilize ties, as seen by the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in February. However, in recent weeks, we started to notice growing signs of the Dominican Republic’s willingness to establish diplomatic ties with China.
We emphasize that since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the Dominican Republic 77 years ago – in 1941 – successive administrations in our two countries have worked together to forge closer cooperation. Successful projects have included efforts to increase rice production under the leadership of Yin. T. Hsieh that led to the Dominican Republic’s becoming an exporter of this staple crop. Taiwan has worked together with the Dominican Republic to build the Silicon Valley of the Caribbean, the Santo Domingo Cyber Park, among others.
Taiwan has also provided assistance in establishing an emergency response center to improve security and increase tourism. Recently, Taiwan has also built a new care center for disadvantaged children. All of these projects have enjoyed the full support and affirmation of the people of the Dominican Republic.
We strongly condemn China’s objectionable decision to use dollar diplomacy to convert Taiwan’s diplomatic allies. Beijing’s attempts at foreign policy have only served to drive a wedge between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, erode mutual trust, and further harm the feelings of the people of Taiwan.
Furthermore, MOFA wants to use this opportunity to remind the international community on the lack of follow through for China’s promises to former diplomatic allies of Taiwan. This is exemplified by China’s failure to deliver on a pledge of US$1 billion in assistance to Costa Rica to build a refinery and $400 million to construct highways, when it established relations with the country in 2007. More recently, since establishing ties with Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016, it has failed to uphold its pledge to provide US$140 million in aid.
Agreed-upon plans to build an airport and deepen a harbor have also been shelved. As former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once said: Beijing “encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth.” Developing nations should be aware of the danger of falling into a debt trap when engaging with China.
While Taiwan faces serious diplomatic challenges, the government will not bow down to pressure from Beijing.
Taiwan will work with friendly nations to uphold regional peace and stability and ensure our rightful place in the international community. Our diplomats around the world will continue to fight for Taiwan’s dignity and rights.