Thu, Aug 01, 2019 - Page 1 News List

Beijing pressures Fiji into renaming office, MOFA says

By Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s representative office in Fiji has changed its name due to pressure from the Chinese government, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Using its political and economic advantage, Beijing pressured the Fijian government to change the name of the office, the ministry said, adding that it strongly condemns this behavior.

Originally named the Trade Mission of the Republic of China to the Republic of Fiji, the mission was renamed the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji, it said.

Changes to the office’s Web site were made yesterday and a new plaque is to be mailed to the office once it is finished, the ministry said.

The government has issued a formal protest about the change to the Fijian government, urging it to value nearly 50 years of friendship between the two nations, it said.

It is to continue communicating with the Fijian government to restore the office’s former name, it added.

Since the office was established in 1971, the two nations have worked closely in the fields of agriculture, fishery, medicine and talent development, among others, it said.

However, this is not the first time the office’s name has been changed.

After the Fijian government established formal diplomatic ties with China in 1975 — the first Pacific island country to do so — the office was renamed the East Asia Trade Center, according to a profile posted by the ministry.

Taiwan’s representative offices in Ecuador, Bahrain, Nigeria, Jordan, Papua New Guinea and Dubai, United Arab Emirates have all been forced to remove references to the Republic of China or Taiwan in their names over the past few years due to pressure from Beijing.

Taiwan maintains formal diplomatic relations with 17 nations.

Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office, the nation has lost five allies: Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso and El Salvador.

Fiji closed its representative office in Taiwan on May 10, 2017.

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