Nigeria has allowed itself to be used as China’s “hired thug,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday, blasting China’s “sick mentality” toward Taiwanese diplomacy and adding that the battle for Taiwan’s representative office in the African nation has been lost.
“On the surface, we have been facing off against Nigeria, but in reality we are facing off against violent and savage China, which does not care about the niceties of international law,” Department of West Asian and African Affairs Director-General Chen Chun-shen (陳俊賢) said, attributing the sending of armed guards to seal off the nation’s representative office in Abuja on Friday last week to pressure from Beijing.
“Our staff and Nigerian friends have reported that, for some unknown reason, China suddenly exerted a ‘mountain-toppling’ amount of pressure on June 30,” he said, adding that Chinese embassy personnel monitored the operation to seal the office and expel staff.
“The incident was pure political harassment, as Taiwan’s representative had already departed the country and the remaining counselor was in Lagos looking at potential offices with a colleague,” he added.
“The only personnel remaining in the office were general affairs staff responsible for accounting and secretarial work,” Chen said, adding that he had on June 19 notified the Nigerian government that the office would be moved to Lagos.
“Finding a new office is not easy, because we have to find a good and safe location whose owners are willing to rent to us. The owners of the locations we have looked at so far want to sell, not rent, but what if the Nigerian government demands we move again?” he said, adding that he on Tuesday met with Nigeria’s representative to demand that Taiwan be given three months to complete the move.
The representative was also informed that his office would be required to move “outside of Taipei” as soon as the move to Lagos is completed, he added.
“We are very sorry to have lost this battle, but hope that the public can be understanding and supportive,” Chen said. “While on the surface we appear to be at a great strategic disadvantage, from January to last month we have succeeded in sending the message that Taiwan’s diplomats cannot be ejected easily. Even if we fail in the end, we will fight to the last minute.”
Following a visit by Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) in January, Nigeria announced plans requiring Taiwan to change the name of its representative office from “Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan)” to “Taipei Trade Office,” move the office from Abuja to Lagos and cease providing “consular services” such as issuing visas.
A March 31 ultimatum by the Nigerian government to remove Representative Chao Chia-pao (趙家寶) was motivated by his lobbying against the relocation, which was viewed as inappropriate for a “business representative,” Chen said.
The relocation to Lagos would not be the first instance of a Taiwanese representative office being in a non-capital city, as the nation’s representative office in the United Arab Emirates is in Dubai instead of Abu Dhabi, Chen said, adding that Dubai was chose as it is more “advanced.”
It was the second time Nigeria has sealed off Taiwan’s representative office in Abuja, following a 2004 incident in which the office was closed for five months, beginning on the eve of a party to celebrate then-president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) inauguration to a second term, he added.
LIABILITIES MULLED: New Taipei City Mayor Hou You-yi said Taipei would find out if the firm was legally registered, the guide was licensed and the weather was assessed The assets of Tian Da Local Nature Co are to be frozen after at least four people died after falling into the Beishi River (北勢溪) on an outing the company had organized on Saturday, the Taipei City Government said yesterday. Six people — two adults and four children — were washed away by a flash flood on the river in New Taipei City’s Hubaotan (虎豹潭) area. They were participating in a Nature Joy Camp outdoor activity with a group of 16 adults and 15 children led by a guide surnamed Su (蘇). As of 4:30pm yesterday, four of the missing had been
Taiwanese worked more hours than people in all but three other countries in the world last year, Ministry of Labor data showed. Singapore placed first in average hours worked among the 40 economies surveyed, with an average of 2,288 hours per worker last year, the data showed. The city-state was followed by Colombia with 2,172 hours — based on 2019 data — and Mexico with 2,124 hours, it showed. Taiwan came in fourth, with 2,021 hours, it showed. South Korean workers clocked the third-most hours in Asia, with 1,908 hours, followed by Japan with 1,598 hours, it showed. However, compared with 2019, the survey found
The US 7th Fleet yesterday confirmed that a US Navy ship transited the Taiwan Strait on Thursday and Friday. “The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey [DDG 105] conducted a Taiwan Strait transit in cooperation with Royal Canadian Navy [RCN] Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, October 14-15, 2021,” the US 7th Fleet said in a statement. “Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific. Cooperation like this represents the centerpiece of our approach to a secure and prosperous region,” it added. The transit marked the
‘COUNTERPRODUCTIVE’: The German, French and Singaporean missions said that Taiwan’s COVID-19 restrictions are hindering local projects and business operations Several foreign missions in Taiwan have urged the government to ease its strict COVID-19 border controls, which they say are hurting in-person exchanges and business operations. The missions made the appeal in response to media inquiries on how the border controls have affected their respective countries’ exchanges with Taiwan, amid growing concerns voiced privately by Taiwan-based foreign offices and businesses regarding the restrictions. Taiwan has maintained strict entry requirements since March last year, generally prohibiting most arrivals except for citizens and foreign residents, while it has required those who enter the country to undergo a stringent 14-day quarantine. Although the rules have been