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Tue, Nov 07, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Vanuatu PM disappoints Taiwan's hopes for ties


Vanuatu's prime minister was quoted yesterday as supporting Chinese policies on Taiwan, apparently crushing Taipei's hopes of establishing diplomatic ties with the South Pacific nation.

Visiting Vanuatu Prime Minister Barak Tame Sope told his Chinese counterpart Zhu Rongji (朱鎔基) in Beijing his government will stick to a "one China" position and considers Taiwan part of China, Chinese state television reported.

Sope was also quoted as saying he hoped his country would cooperate with China on economic and social issues.

Sope's comments came after a Taiwan newspaper reported late last month that Taipei expected to forge full diplomatic relations with Vanuatu.

Vanuatu has maintained close ties with Taipei since 1992, while officially recognizing Beijing.

Diplomatic sources in Taipei said in late October Taiwan's vice foreign minister, Wu Tzu-dan (吳子丹), had secretly visited Vanuatu earlier this year about the matter.

Zhu was quoted yesterday as welcoming Sope's reiteration of Vanuatu's "one China" position, adding that the Chinese government and people would not make any concessions on the Taiwan issue.

Taiwan and China have competed intensely for recognition by third nations, especially in recent years. While doing so, they have accused each other of conducting "checkbook diplomacy" -- offering foreign aid in exchange for official recognition.

The Taiwanese newspaper report about Vanuatu came after Beijing stepped up its efforts to squeeze Taipei's already limited diplomatic movement.

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