Dominican Republic may switch allegiance to China


Thu, Jul 15, 2004 - Page 4

The official diplomatic ties between Taiwan and the Dominican Republic might be at risk of breaking up, a legislator said yesterday.

The issue was brought up during a banquet Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) hosted in honor of former Dominican Senate speaker Ramon Alburquerque Ramirez and his 15-member delegation last Thursday, according to a legislator who attended the banquet, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Ramirez told Wang that the Dominican Republic's new president might intend to improve the country's relations with China," the legislator said.

President-elect Leonel Fernandez is slated to be inaugurated on Aug. 16.

The legislator said Wang replied that he hoped the two countries could work toward maintaining diplomatic relations, as Taiwan has been a diplomatic ally of the Dominican Republic for more than 60 years. Ramirez told Wang that maintaining diplomatic ties should be the target of lawmakers in both countries.

Wang offered no comment on the incident in response to questions from reporters yesterday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied that there was any turbulence in relations between the two countries.

"Taiwan and the Dominican Republic have maintained a stable and friendly relationship in the past, and Taiwan has had close ties with Fernandez, who has been a long-time friend of the country," Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Richard Shih (石瑞琦) said.

"Fernandez has also promised that if he is elected, he will continue to maintain the ties between Taiwan and the Dominican Republic," Shih said.

He said that Fernandez had invited President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) to attend his inauguration. Premier Yu Shyi-kun is expected to attend Fernandez's inauguration as Chen's special envoy.