Sun, Jun 03, 2018 - Page 3 News List

King’s visit means stronger ties: Eswatini ambassador

‘HAPPY’:Eswatini respects how Beijing implements its foreign policy, but is capable of conducting its own foreign policy, Swazi Amabassador to Taiwan Thamie Dlamini said

Staff writer, with CNA

Eswatini Ambassador to Taiwan Thamie Dlamini speaks during an interview with the Central News Agency in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The planned visit on Wednesday by King Mswati III of Eswatini shows the African nation’s commitment to Taiwan, Swazi Ambassador to Taiwan Thamie Dlamini said.

Dlamini’s remarks deflated speculation that Eswatini, which has maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan for 50 years, might cut ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing instead, after Burkina Faso severed ties with Taiwan on May 24.

“We will stick with Taiwan. Our diplomatic ties are very strong. We are very happy with that,” Dlamini said on Friday. “Next week, we are all excited about the visit of His Majesty, who is going to cement the very good relations between the two nations.”

The king is scheduled to stay in Taiwan until Tuesday next week.

The ambassador said the visit has been planned for some time and was not arranged in haste.

Taiwan is a second home for the king, Dlamini said, adding that the visit would deliver a strong signal that the two nations enjoy solid ties.

When Burkina Faso severed ties with Taiwan, Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, was left as the nation’s only African ally.

After Burkina Faso switched recognition, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) publicly called for Eswatini to do so as well.

The loss of Burkina Faso leaves Taiwan with only 18 diplomatic allies. It was the fourth ally to switch its recognition to China since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016. The other nations were Sao Tome and Principe, Panama and the Dominican Republic.

“We want to once again extend our deepest gratitude to Taiwan and to the people of Taiwan, who have always worked hard to support economic and social development initiatives in Eswatini,” Dlamini said. “We are very happy with the current status of our diplomatic relations with the Republic of China.”

Eswatini respects China as a nation and respects the way in which Beijing implements its foreign policy, Dlamini said, but added that as a sovereign state, Eswatini is capable of conducting its own foreign policy.

Speaking about the king’s upcoming visit, Dlamini said that the king and Tsai would sign a bilateral economic cooperation agreement, which is expected to grant preferential tariffs to Swazi products sold in Taiwan.

“We don’t always come to Taiwan to beg, but we come to seek how we can best cooperate and support each other,” the ambassador said. “In our attempts, we are always ready to support Taiwan by playing an active role.”

The king is to attend his son’s university graduation on Saturday, Dlamini said, adding that the young man plans to stay in Taiwan and pursue a graduate degree.

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