Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Ties with ally in Caribbean remain strong: ministry

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said that diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines remain strong and stable, shrugging off plans by the Caribbean nation’s major opposition party to establish ties with China if it gains power.

At a routine news conference in Taipei yesterday, Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Director-General Miguel Tsao (曹立傑) said relations between the two nations have been solid and steady, as evidenced by Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves’ attendance at the government’s Double Ten National Day ceremony in front of the Presidential Office Building on Monday.

“During his visit to Taiwan this time, Gonsalves said that in an effort to demonstrate our friendship, he published a 40,000-word article in a local newspaper detailing the two nations’ close ties,” Tsao said.

In the article, Gonsalves told Arnhim Eustace, leader of Saint Vincent’s main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), that the idea of establishing diplomatic ties with Beijing is “naive” Tsao said.

Gonsalves also reiterated confidence in the two nations’ strong relations during his meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the Presidential Office on Tuesday and pledged to prove his words through actions, Tsao said.

Tsao made the remarks in response to reporters’ questions regarding Eustace’s announcement in August that in light of Saint Vincent’s need to promote trade and investment, his party would switch the nation’s diplomatic recognition to Beijing if elected to office.

Saint Vincent is among Taiwan’s 22 diplomatic allies, some of which have allegedly been interested in switching sides to Beijing, including the Vatican and Sao Tome and Principe.

In March, Taipei’s former diplomatic ally Gambia established ties with China after severing the two nations’ 18-year relationship in November 2013.

Tsao said it was the 10th visit to Taiwan by Gonsalves, who was re-elected for a fourth term in December last year and is set to become the longest-ruling national leader in Latin America and the Caribbean after his current term expires in 2020.

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