Fri, Oct 20, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan leery of forums in Beijing

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government is monitoring closely Beijing's recent move to invite Taiwan's diplomatic allies to attend a forum between China and African countries, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official (MOFA) said yesterday.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday that it has invited five African countries which have diplomatic relations with Taiwan to send ministerial-level officials to participate in a conference on Chinese cooperation with Central African countries in Beijing next month.

The five African countries are Malawi, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Swaziland and Sao Tome and Principe.

MOFA Spokesman David Wang (王建業) said yesterday that Taiwan's five African allies would not take part in the conference.

Wang added that the ministry has obtained information relating to the event, noting that China has been holding such conferences since 2000.

"China considers itself a spokes-man for the Third World and has been holding similar events and inviting our allies to participate," Wang said.

"It's not an unusual occurrence," Wang said.

"China has also tried roping in Taiwan's allies in the South Pacific to attend this kind of conference," he said.

"We will remind our friends that it would be inappropriate to attend such meetings," Wang said, adding that as far as the ministry knows, none of the country's allies have taken up the invitation.

Among 53 countries in Africa, 48 have diplomatic relations with China. Taiwan has only five allies in Africa.

In August Chad broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and set up formal relations with China.

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