Sun, Jan 23, 2005 - Page 3 News List

MOFA waiting for word from Grenada before cutting ties

By Joy Su  /  STAFF REPORTER

Ties with Grenada could be cut as early as today or tomorrow when the Caribbean state is expected to explain whether it plans to relinquish relations with Taiwan, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.

"The latest information our sources have provided indicates that Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell is slated to return home at 6am either today or Monday," Ministry spokesman Michel Lu (呂慶龍) said yesterday, explaining that Mitchell's travel plans had not been finalized.

Lu explained that the government would not take any action to sever diplomatic ties until after Mitchell returns to Grenada from his recent trip to China and Japan, and only if he formally rescinds ties with Taiwan. Lu said it was uncertain whether Mitchell would offer an explanation of the diplomatic quandary immediately upon returning home.

Grenada signed a communique on Thursday to resume official ties with China, a move that will most likely require it to rescind its recognition of Taiwan. If ties with the Caribbean island nation are severed, Taiwan would be left with 26 diplomatic allies, a figure that includes the nation's ambiguous ties with Vanuatu. While Taiwan counts Vanuatu among its allies, the diplomatic communique signed by deposed Vanuatuan prime minister Serge Vohor is not recognized by his successor.

However, Lu said yesterday the ministry was perfectly willing to see Grenada establish ties with both Taiwan and China.

"We're not going to limit whom Grenada can be friends with, but we won't stand for their threats or demands for money," Lu said yesterday.

According to Lu yesterday, Mitchell further accused Taiwan of failure to take Grenada's needs seriously.

"He accused Taiwan of refusing to help with the construction of a hospital and a gymnasium," Lu relayed.

Lu said that there was no reason why Taiwan should shoulder financial responsibilities at Grenada's request.

"They just want us to give more money," Lu said. "This is an attitude problem."

Meanwhile, the ministry also faces challenges persuading the European Union to maintain its arms embargo against China. With the British recently falling in line with the Germans and French in their support for lifting the embargo, Lu admitted yesterday that the change could have a significant impact on Taiwan, given uncertainties as to the proposed European Union code of conduct.

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