Fri, Jan 13, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Nigeria decision part of China ‘scheme’

MISLEADING:The government said Abuja’s announcement that it would sever ties was meant to confuse the international community, as no formal diplomatic ties exist

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Nigeria`s President Muhammadu Buhari greets China`s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, during his visit to the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Nigeria on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said Nigeria has decided to play along with a Chinese “peremptory political scheme,” after the west African country announced that it would no longer recognize Taiwan as a nation and would cease all diplomatic relations in accordance with the “one China” principle.

The ministry in a news release accused Nigeria of seeking to confuse the international community by declaring that it would honor the “one China” principle and sever diplomatic relations with Taipei, as the two nations have never established formal diplomatic ties.

“The ministry strongly protests and deplores the Nigerian government’s cooperation with China to carry out a politically motivated, unreasonable, peremptory and brutal scheme,” it said.

The strongly worded statement followed a joint news conference by Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama and visiting Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) in Abuja on Wednesday, at which they said that Taipei’s office in the capital would be shut down and moved to Lagos, Nigeria.

“Taiwan will not have any diplomatic representation in Nigeria and also they will be moving to Lagos, to the extent that they function as a trade mission with a skeletal staff,” the state-run News Agency of Nigeria quoted Onyeama as saying.

Nigerian officials and organizations have also been banned from having official exchanges with Taiwan.

At a news conference in Taipei yesterday morning, ministry spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (王珮玲) urged Nigeria to leave room for follow-up negotiations.

“In an effort to promote a substantial trade relationship, Taiwan and Nigeria inked a memorandum of understanding on mutually establishing trade missions on Nov. 21, 1990,” she said.

In 1991, Taiwan established a trade mission in the then-Nigerian capital, Lagos, before moving it to its new capital, Abuja, after reaching a consensus with the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in August 2001, Eleanor Wang said, adding that since then China has been pressuring Nigeria to relocate Taipei’s office back to Lagos.

Beijing has stepped up efforts to suppress Taipei in the international arena as part of punitive measures over President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) refusal to acknowledge the so-called “1992 consensus.”

The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means. Former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted to making up the term in 2000.

Later yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應) said that China’s nonsensical tactics were not conducive to improving cross-strait ties and were beneath the great power Beijing claims to be.

The lawmaker went on to ridicule Nigeria’s announcement, saying: “I did not know you could break up with someone without even being in a relationship with them in the first place.”

An internal Nigerian government document detailing the decision had been available since last week, Tsai Shih-ying said, calling on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to step up its efforts to safeguard Taiwan’s international status.

Separately yesterday, in Guatemala, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺), who is accompanying the president on her ongoing visit to Central America, said China’s pressuring of Taiwan would only raise hackles.

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