Taiwan respects its diplomatic allies’ efforts to develop economic and trade relations with China, including proposals to establish trade offices in that country, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.
Florencia Hsieh (謝妙宏), deputy director-general of the Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, made the remarks at a regular news briefing as she discussed recent events in the region, coinciding with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit (習近平) to Mexico, Costa Rica and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, where he held a summit with nine Caribbean basin leaders and promised more than US$3 billion in loans to Beijing’s allies.
Xi’s trip was among the issues followed by the ministry, with attention given to deals reached between China and the three nations he visited to facilitate their relationships, Hsieh said.
The Caribbean and Central and South America have been areas of intense and continuous diplomatic competition between Taiwan and China.
Hsieh said Xi’s trip did not entail more aid from Taiwan to its diplomatic allies, but she added that the nation will continue provisions of aid projects to help the countries in accordance with three set principles — seeking proper goals, acting lawfully and exercising effective administration.
None of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies in the Caribbean attended the summit held from Friday last week to Sunday, neither have any of them requested for new aid projects from Taiwan following Xi’s visit, she said.
Taiwan is not opposed to its diplomatic allies developing economic and trade relationships with China because it understands that having the kind of relationships bring economic advantages, Hsieh said.
Hsieh said that the ministry “respects” the allies’ decisions to have trade offices set up in China because “it was part of bilateral economic ties.”
Hsieh’s remarks marked a slight revision of the ministry’s position.
In December last year, when asked to comment on Honduran President Porfirio Lobo Sosa’s plan to set up such an office, but Deputy Foreign Minister Simon Ko (柯森耀) said the ministry was “not happy” to see an ally establish a trade office in China, while it did not oppose allies developing economic ties with Beijing.
Among the nation’s 12 diplomatic allies in the region, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Panama have already opened offices in China, while Belize has established a trade office in Hong Kong, according to the ministry.
In related news, Paraguay, whose office in Taipei has been headed by a charge d’affaires since June last year, has designated a new ambassador to Taiwan, Hsieh said.