Wed, Dec 07, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Envoy to meet St Lucian prime minister: ministry

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s envoy to Saint Lucia will meet the Caribbean country’s new prime minister within the next two days to solidify bilateral ties, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

Ambassador Tom Chou (周台竹) will meet Saint Lucian Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, who is leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) — which won more than half the parliamentary seats in the general elections on Nov. 28 — said Wu Chin-mu (吳進木), director-general of the ministry’s Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs.

Anthony was sworn into office on Wednesday last week, Wu said.

On behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) telephoned Anthony recently to congratulate him on his success, Wu said.

During their telephone conversation, Anthony promised that diplomatic relations would remain the same, Wu said, amid worries that a change in both the ruling party and prime minister would jeopardize the Caribbean island nation’s diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Prior to the election, Anthony’s party pledged to review Castries’ foreign relations policy if it won the election. Political analysts saw the move as a consideration to drop relations with Taipei and resume ties with Beijing.

Asked whether Anthony has called China, its former diplomatic ally, since the election, Wu said that he did not know.

However, Wu said Anthony fully acknowledged that Saint Lucia’s relationship with Taiwan is based on a government-to-government basis rather than between parties.

Castries first established diplomatic ties with Taipei in 1984, but switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1997 when the then-opposition SLP unseated the United Workers Party (UWP).

In 2007, the UWP government renewed ties with Taipei when it regained power.

Saint Lucia, with a population of 174,000, is one of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic allies around the world.

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