Mon, Aug 07, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Ministry regrets diplomatic break

COMPROMISE The foreign ministry said that pressure from China forced Chad to switch recognition in hopes of finding a solution to its internal security woes

By Chang Yun-ping  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday expressed regret that Chad had switched diplomatic ties to Beijing.

Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) said this was because of Chad's growing refugee problems in its border with Sudan, as the Chinese government has been providing armed support to the Chadian rebels that have been aiding the genocide in Darfur.

"The Chadian government has long been troubled by internal security unrest caused by the rebels. And yet, China has contributed to this problem by providing armed support to the rebel groups which were supporting [the violence in Darfur] Sudan," Huang said yesterday.

Taiwan decided to sever diplomatic ties with Chad late on Saturday evening after the central African country recognized China.

The announcement was made less than 24 hours before Premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) planned departure for Chad yesterday as President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) special envoy to Chadian President Idriss Deby's second inauguration tomorrow.

Huang said that the government had intercepted intelligence indicating that the Chadian foreign minister flew to Beijing two days ago, and the government responded by calling off Su's trip to Chad.

In a letter dated Aug. 6 that Deby wrote to Chen, the Chadian president explained that because of the seriousness of the civil unrest caused by the rebels, he had to make compromises with the Chinese government "for the survival" of Chad.

Huang said that since early this year the government had noticed a number of signs indicating unusual interactions between Chadian and Chinese officials.

Huang said that during a recent UN meeting concerning the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, the Chadian foreign minister held a secret meeting with China's permanent representative to the UN, Wang Guangya (王光亞), to request China's intervention to stop fueling the Darfur conflict that was spilling to Chad.

The Chadian foreign minister also went to Paris last Thursday to meet with Chinese officials and flew to Beijing on Saturday, he said.

Huang also said yesterday that Senegal, which switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in October last year, "played a negative role" in influencing Chad as Senegal's president is chairing a meeting soon between the Chadian and Sudanese presidents in Dakar, Senegal's capital, about the possible restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Huang noted that since early this year, the government had been cautious about Chad's wavering loyalties and had personally paid two visits in April and July this year to the African country to secure and strengthen diplomatic relations.

To this end, President Chen made a telephone call to Deby on July 27 to offer his congratulations on his upcoming presidential inauguration, and Deby responded by saying that he welcomed Su's visit as an envoy on behalf of Chen.

"This [lying to Taiwan] was extremely unfriendly behavior by Chad," Huang said.

The foreign minister also apologized for failing to secure ties with Chad and condemned Beijing's two-handed strategy of squeezing Taiwan's international space while trying to win the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese.

Huang said Taiwan will only become more resilient against China's international oppression and warned that Beijing's stifling of Taiwan's international space would harm cross-strait relations.

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