Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) said on Friday in Swaziland that as countries near Swaziland have diplomatic relations with Beijing, Taiwan must make an effort to maintain its diplomatic ties with the southern African country.
Siew, who arrived earlier on Friday to attend the 40th founding anniversary of the country and the 40th birthday of King Mswati III yesterday on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), made the remarks after listening to a briefing by Taiwanese Ambassador Chao Lin (趙麟).
Siew said that both Swazi Prime Minister Absalom Themba Dlamni and King Mswati III had assured him that Swaziland’s friendship with Taiwan would not change.
But the vice president said that although bilateral ties are solid, Swaziland is near countries such as Lesotho and Malawi, which both broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing.
“We cannot let our guard down, despite the assurances of King Mswati III,” he said.
Siew expressed the hope that Taiwanese businesses would join the government’s efforts to make Swaziland more stable and prosperous so that the country would help others in the region realize that maintaining ties with Taiwan “has benefits and there is nothing to lose.”
Siew said he asked Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊), Health Minister Lin Fang-yue (林芳郁) and Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Wu-hsiung (陳武雄) to accompany him on the trip, with the aim of enhancing cooperation on diplomacy, medicine, agriculture and communications.
The government would especially like to encourage cooperation in the area of public health, he said.
Swaziland is one of 23 countries that maintain formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.