Sat, Sep 10, 2011 - Page 2 News List

WIKILEAKS: Cables detail rocky diplomatic relations

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff Reporter

While Taipei has maintained formal diplomatic ties with 23 allies following President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) declaration of a “diplomatic truce” with China, academics and officials say that relations with Nicaragua, Paraguay, Dominica, Panama, Haiti and Honduras have been on shaky ground, cables released by WikiLeaks on Aug. 30 showed.

A cable dated June 2, 2008, issued by the US consulate in Shanghai, quoted Yang Jiemian (楊潔勉), then-president of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, and its vice president Chen -Dongxiao (陳東曉) as saying that Nicaragua intended to recognize China, but Beijing decided not act on the requests.

The cable said the Chinese academics viewed Beijing’s refusal to accept Nicaragua as an act of “good will” toward Taiwan and that China was awaiting “gestures from Taiwan in the next two months or so.”

“China decided not to implement that offered change, at least for now, to see whether an understanding can be reached that would allow a cessation to the war between Taipei and Beijing for diplomatic recognition,” the cable reads.

Another cable dated March 20, 2009, quoted then-foreign minister Francisco Ou (歐鴻鍊) as telling American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Raymond Bughardt that China has refused to accept requests from Paraguay, the Dominican Republic and Panama to switch diplomatic ties.

“Beijing had tacitly accepted Taiwan’s diplomatic truce,” Ou was quoted as saying in the cable.

Ou said he had issued no instructions on the subject as Taipei was still “observing … [but] personally, I hope our diplomats would interpret the ceasefire in a broader way,” the cable said.

Kung Kuo-wei (宮國威), an associate professor at Tamkang University, told the AIT that Paraguay, Panama, Haiti and Honduras had a strong interest in strengthening ties with China and were keen on switching their diplomatic recognition, according to a cable originating from the AIT on Oct. 3, 2008.

Separately, a cable from the US embassy in Beijing on Jan. 16, 2009, quoted Renmin University professor Jin Canrong (金燦榮) as saying that five unnamed countries with diplomatic relations with Taiwan were willing to switch their recognition to China

As for the South Pacific region, a cable dated Sept. 25, 2008, from the AIT showed that six of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies — Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu — were uneasy about their ties with Taiwan following the “diplomatic truce” policy.

The cable quoted Victor Yu (于德勝), then-director general for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of East Asian Affairs, as saying that this unease had prompted Taiwan to reassure its Pacific island diplomatic partners that its engagement with China would not change its policy in the region and that it would continue, and probably even increase, development cooperation.

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