Fri, Jan 21, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Grenada, Beijing re-establish links

TAIPEI CONDEMNS The foreign ministry's spokesman said China had lured Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell with benefits, and described him as `heartless'

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell a "heartless" man after the Beijing's official Xinhua news agency reported yesterday China and Grenada have resumed diplomatic ties.

Xinhua showed a photo of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (李肇星) and his Grenadian counterpart Elvin Nimrod shaking hands after they signed a joint communique to resume official relations between the two countries, which were cut in 1989.

"Today's resumption of ties reaffirmed to the whole world that the `one China' policy is commonly acknowledged by the international community, and that any separatist attempt of `Taiwan independence' forces is doomed to be defeated, Li said.

"China has been luring Mitchell with benefits. We tried to dissuade Mitchell from [accepting them], but he was determined to have his own way," ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍?) told a press conference last night.

Lu said the ministry has been keeping a close eye on Mitchell since his visit to Beijing last month.

"Mitchell took advantage of Taiwan's special relationship with China and attempted to make the most out of Taipei," Lu said.

"Since then on, we have prepared for all possible developments in our relations with Grenada," he said.

Mitchell, who claimed Taiwan did not care about Grenada, its ally since 1986, demanded Taipei pay US$245 million for a five-year bilateral cooperation program.

"His appetite is insatiable. We cannot afford to pay the money," Lu said.

Apart from Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen's (陳唐山) visit to Grenada after Hurricane Ivan devastated the country last year, Lu said, Taipei also pledged a US$8 million package to help its ally's reconstruction work.

Criticizing Mitchell's comments on Taiwan's carelessness toward Grenada as "groundless" and "humiliating," Lu said the Grenadian leader was a "heartless" man.

"We have recalled our ambassador to Grenada as a protest against his remarks,"

Lu said, adding the ministry had sensed something had gone wrong when Grenada's representative to the UN refrained from speaking for Taiwan in the UN General Assembly last September.

Lashing out at Mitchell's treatment of Taiwan, Lu stopped short of announcing that the government would cut diplomatic ties with Grenada immediately.

China requires all its allies to relinquish official relations with Taiwan. Mitchell, who was on a trip to Japan yesterday, is expected to make a formal speech on Grenada's ties with Taipei after returning home today.

"If the government of Grenada confirms that it will cut ties with Taiwan, we will immediately cut ties with Grenada," Lu said, stressing Taiwan would not take the initiative to abandon its ally because that might be exactly what Beijing hoped to see Taipei do.

If Taiwan cuts ties, it would stop all bilateral cooperation programs and no longer pay for the Caribbean state's debts, Lu said.

Taiwan's tally of diplomatic allies would drop to 26 if Grenada cuts its ties. The ministry said Vanuatu still maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, though the country's former prime minister Serge Vohor, who signed a diplomatic communique with Taiwan last November, has been deposed and his successor has not recognized the ties with Taiwan.

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