St Lucia, one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies, reportedly is reviewing its relations with Taiwan before a decision is made on whether to continue diplomatic ties, suggesting that the replacement of the Taiwanese ambassador might not be sufficient to resolve the row that emerged when St Lucian Prime Minister Kenny Anthony regained power.
Anthony, leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), has reportedly said that his administration is awaiting a report from its Foreign Policy Review Committee to formulate a policy for its relations with Taiwan and China.
The committee is headed by former St Lucian Prime Minister Vaughn Lewis.
Local media in St Lucia on Friday quoted Anthony as saying that his administration “is looking at all its options” and “we will articulate a clearer position when we receive a report from the committee which the government set up and an appropriate announcement will be made in time.”
“As soon as the report is presented and the government has studied the report, a decision will be made,” he said. “But the government of St Lucia will not be forced into making any decision and we have always made our position very clear.”
The news came ahead of the planned departure this week from Taiwan of James Chang (章計平) to succeed Tom Chou (周台竹) as ambassador to the Caribbean country.
Chang was appointed to replace Chou early last month, in the wake of repeated requests from Anthony for Chou to be recalled, based on his allegation that Chou had interfered in the country’s internal politics in favor of the previous United Workers Party (UWP) administration in November’s general election.
Taiwan has experienced an on-and-off relationship with St Lucia following transitions of power in the nation. During Anthony’s first time as prime minister, he ended relations with Taiwan in 1997 after his party defeated the UWP. The previous UWP administration switched recognition back to Taiwan in 2006 after it regained office.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Steve Shia (夏季昌) declined to comment on the authenticity of the media report, but said the ministry is confident that relationships between the two countries are stable.
“We have gained information from our sources and we offer no comment on information reported by the media,” he said.
St Lucia has given Taipei its assurance that it would continue to maintain relations with Taiwan after Anthony assumed office, Shia added.