The government yesterday blasted Beijing for pressuring Guyana to unilaterally terminate a deal with Taiwan to open a representative office in the South American country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) on Thursday announced that it was preparing to establish the office after signing an agreement with Guyana on Jan. 11.
The US embassy in Guyana, US Acting Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Julie Chung, as well as the American Institute in Taiwan had issued statements praising the deal.
However, after China’s Taiwan Affairs Office condemned the move, the Guyanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on Thursday issued a statement canceling the agreement.
“The government of Guyana wishes to clarify that it continues to adhere to the one China policy and its diplomatic relations remain intact with the People’s Republic of China,” the statement said. “The government has not established any diplomatic ties or relations with Taiwan, and as a result of the miscommunication of the agreement signed, this agreement has since been terminated.”
Guyanese Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd on Thursday posted a photograph on Facebook of him meeting with Chinese Charge d’Affaires to Guyana Chen Xilai (陳錫來), writing that Chen confirmed that “20,000 vaccines earmarked for Guyana have been approved.”
MOFA yesterday expressed regret over Guyana’s change of heart in less than 24 hours due to pressure from China.
Beijing’s action is opposed to its own claim that it objects to the use of force to bully the weak, the ministry said, without directly naming Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who made a similar claim at the World Economic Forum last month.
Taiwan is a sovereign nation, and its people have the right to deepen relations with countries and participate in international events, MOFA said.
Diplomatic personnel would not cease their efforts to fight for Taiwan’s international participation, and defend its dignity and interests, it added.
The ministry did not say whether it would recall diplomats from Guyana.
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) issued a statement calling Xi’s claim that it objects to using force to bully the weak a “joke.”
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) thanked all diplomatic personnel for their efforts and encouraged them to continue working toward boosting Taiwan’s international participation, Chang said in the statement.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said that Taiwan would not forgo any opportunity, nor resort to “dollar diplomacy,” to break through its predicament in the global community.
The nation would wield its “soft power” — such as in medicine and agricultural technology — to make a change, Chen Ting-fei said, adding that democratic Taiwan surely stands out compared with totalitarian China.
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which on Thursday questioned the necessity of establishing an office in a country where there are few Taiwanese, yesterday urged the government to reassess diplomatic work that focuses on short-term gains.
Considering the hard work of Taiwanese diplomats on different fronts, the ministry should be more practical and careful before announcing a diplomatic breakthrough for political gain, KMT National Policy Foundation vice president Huang Hsin-hua (黃心華) said.
Instead of blaming Beijing, whose pressure on Taiwan has continued for decades, the government should rethink if its propaganda overstated its agreement with Guyana, he added.
The Taiwan Office in Guyana would have been the second representative office using “Taiwan” in its name, after the Taiwan Representative Office in Somaliland opened last year.
Additional reporting by Peng Wan-hsin and CNA
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