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Caribbean Nations Favoring China over Taiwan

July 20, 2007

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member nations are increasingly moving toward a one-China position, Guyanese Foreign Minister Rudy Insanally said here July 11 as a senior Chinese official prepared to leave Georgetown for Argentina.

“I think that people are now being increasingly persuaded that there is one China,” Insanally told reporters.

The Communist government in Beijing regards Taiwan as a rebel province and refuses to maintain diplomatic relations with countries that recognize Taipei.

Of CARICOM’s 14 independent nations, five have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, including St. Lucia, which earlier this year switched from Beijing to Taipei.

China’s deputy parliament speaker, Gu Xiulian, who stopped here last week on a four-nation tour of the Caribbean and South America, urged Guyanese lawmakers to preserve Georgetown’s one-China position.

Guyana was the first Caribbean nation to establish diplomatic ties with mainland China.

“Do not allow anyone to separate China from Taiwan by any means,” said Xiulian, who later joined Guyanese President Bharrat Jagdeo to witness the signing of a pact cancelling $15 million of Guyana’s debt to the Asian nation.

With CARICOM being the mechanism through which member nations coordinate their foreign policy, Insanally said the issue of relations with China and Taiwan is the subject of ongoing discussion because “there is a divergence of views and some countries prefer Taiwan.”

He added that each country “has the sovereign right to determine which path to follow.”

Taiwan’s allies in the Caribbean are Belize, Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia. The other nine CARICOM nations – Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Grenada, Dominica, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago – now support China.

Half of the 24 nations that maintain diplomatic links with Taiwan are located in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Taiwan has been working to shore up relations with its allies in the region since Costa Rica decided to cut ties with Taipei in June in favor of establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing (TT, June 8).

Taiwanese Vice-President Annette Lu this week traveled to Panama and Guatemala to lobby those two countries to remain on friendly terms with the Asian nation.

 

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