Burkina Faso yesterday severed ties with Taiwan, the second diplomatic ally to do so within a month, prompting Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) to tender his resignation.
However, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) did not sign off on Wu’s resignation, Presidential Office spokesman Alex Huang (黃重諺) told the Taipei Times last night.
Speaking at an impromptu news conference in Taipei yesterday evening, Wu said that although Burkina Faso has yet to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing, it goes without saying that “China is the sole factor” in the African nation’s decision.
Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times
“This is the second nation in a month, after the Dominican Republic, to have made such a move. I share the public’s sadness, anger and regret over these incidents,” said Wu, who only took over the helm of the ministry in February.
China’s repeated attempts to poach Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and suppress its presence in the international arena would not narrow the gap across the Taiwan Strait — it would only further anger Taiwanese, Wu said.
“I would like to again quote President Tsai’s oft-stated pledge that we will never succumb to Beijing’s pressure,” Wu said, adding that China’s actions, both diplomatically and militarily, constitute a unilateral change of the cross-strait “status quo.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs first noticed warning signs regarding Burkina Faso prior to Tsai’s state visit to Africa last month, when Burkinabe President Roch Kabore prioritized an international gathering over meeting with Tsai, Wu said.
Media speculation in Burkina Faso regarding the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing were another sign, Wu said.
The ministry became more concerned after Burkina Faso became the nation’s only ally to not publicly speak up for Taiwan’s World Health Assembly (WHA) bid, Wu said.
A high-level government official previously said on condition of anonymity that China had written to all of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies warning them against speaking for Taiwan at this year’s WHA.
The Republic of China established diplomatic relations with Burkina Faso in 1961, but Ouagadougou switched recognition to the People’s Republic of China in 1973. Taiwan and Burkina Faso resumed ties in 1994.
Burkinabe Minister of Foreign Affairs Alpha Barry in February last year had told reporters that his nation had rejected a Beijing offer of US$50 billion and had no plans to switch allegiances.
Taiwan has lost three other diplomatic allies to China since Tsai’s inauguration: Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016, Panama in June last year and the Dominican Republic on April 30.
Regarding Taiwan’s relations with its sole remaining African ally, Eswatini, Wu said that he has “huge confidence” in the stability of their ties.
“President Tsai visited Eswatini just last month and she has maintained a good relationship with Swazi King Mswati III,” Wu said. “The king is also scheduled to visit Taiwan next month to attend his son’s graduation ceremony.”
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
The US, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, the US Seventh Fleet announced yesterday. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain joined the JS Kirisame of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta. The Arunta’s commanding officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said that Australia was continuing to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the US. “This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,”
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
Seabed waste off the west coast is 1.5 times higher than the global average, with the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) nearly 90 times dirtier, the environmental consultancy IndigoWaters (澄洋環境顧問) said yesterday. The firm in September last year began collaborating with local oceanographers on Taiwan’s first survey of seabed waste off the west coast, collecting 6,000 samples from near the mouths of eight rivers and conducting 215 inspections. Of the samples, 83.3 percent were found to contain trash, the group said. Based on the survey, every square kilometer of seabed had about 121,074 pieces of trash weighing 102kg, IndigoWaters chief executive Yen