Diplomacy not zero-sum game: official

The Presidential Office on Monday expressed deep regret and discontent after China and Sao Tome and Principe announced their resumption of diplomatic relations earlier that day, saying that “diplomacy is not a zero-sum game.”

China and Sao Tome and Principe signed a communiqué to resume diplomatic relations in Beijing earlier that day.

Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) said that “diplomacy is not a zero-sum game,” noting that participation in the international community by both sides of the Taiwan Strait has positive significance and the two sides need not clash with each other.

“Any move to restrain or interfere with Taiwan’s participation in the international community will be a loss to the international community, and will also not be beneficial to the healthy development of cross-strait relations,” Huang said.

“We deeply regret and are dissatisfied with” China’s manipulation of “checkbook diplomacy” and its “one China principle” to interfere with Taiwan’s participation in the international community, Huang said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed “deep disappointment and regret.”

The ministry said that Sao Tome and Principe, lured by China’s dollar diplomacy, has turned away from Taiwan despite the major contributions it has made to the improvement of the health and wellbeing of the Sao Tome and Principe people over the years.

The ministry noted that the West African country has big financial needs and that China, in its manipulation of the “one China principle,” had demanded that Sao Tome and Principe not maintain any official ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) as a precondition for providing” full support and assistance” to the country’s social and economic development, as well as the needs of its people.

The ministry said the ROC, as a sovereign, independent country, is by no means negated unilaterally by the “one China” principle in Beijing’s communiqué.

The government, as a responsible international cooperation partner, will continue to deepen and solidify close cooperation with its allies, it said.

The ministry and all its overseas embassies and offices will be on guard to monitor any further moves by China to squeeze Taiwan’s space in the international community, it said. China first established diplomatic ties with Sao Tome and Principe, a former Portugese colony, after it declared independence in 1975. The ties were severed in 1997 when the African country established ties with Taiwan.

After the severance of ties between Taiwan and Sao Tome and Principe on Dec. 21, Taiwan now has 21 diplomatic allies. In Africa, only Burkina Faso and Swaziland maintain formal ties with Taiwan.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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