Thu, Apr 26, 2007 - Page 1 News List

St. Lucia dumps PRC for Taiwan

STAFF WRITER

Taiwan will resume formal diplomatic ties with St. Lucia after a break of 10 years, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said last night.

The re-establishing of ties with St. Lucia -- one of the world's smallest countries with a population of 170,000 -- raises the number of Taiwanese allies to 25.

Taiwan first established diplomatic ties with St. Lucia in 1984 when John Compton was prime minister.

The 82-year-old Compton, who governed the Caribbean state for 29 years, had maintained ties with Taiwan for 13 years before being defeated by the Labor Party in 1996 elections.

St. Lucia severed ties with Taipei the following year when prime minister Kenneth Anthony switched recognition to Beijing.

Compton's United Workers Party won St. Lucia's general elections last December.

Following a secret visit to St. Lucia in mid-December when Compton assumed his post, Foreign Minister James Huang (黃志芳) returned there last month to hold extensive talks with Compton and other senior officials.

The exchange triggered a formal protest from the Chinese embassy in Castries, St. Lucia's capital.

St. Lucia's foreign minister has already announced the switch in parliament, Cabinet spokeswoman Chen Mei-ling (陳美伶) said.

At press time there was no response from Beijing, though it is likely to sever ties with St. Lucia.

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