Ambassador to Haiti Bernard Liu (劉邦治) has returned to Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday, reaffirming bilateral relations amid media reports that the diplomatic ally has demanded a new ambassador.
The Caribbean country, with a population of nearly 11 million, was named by the South China Morning Post as Beijing’s next target, after the Solomon Islands and Kiribati switched recognition from Taipei to Beijing in September last year.
Taiwan has 15 remaining allies.
Liu was expelled from Haiti due to “a small incident” related to national sovereignty, the French-language news outlet Haiti24.net reported on Friday last week, quoting Haitian Minister of Foreign Affairs Claude Joseph as saying that Haitian President Jovenel Moise is waiting for a new ambassador.
Without going into details about the incident, Joseph said Taiwan-Haiti relations remain intact, the outlet reported.
Liu had a quarrel with Moise and was asked to leave the country in 72 hours, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported on Saturday.
Asked about the issue during a news briefing in Taipei yesterday, Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Director-General Alexander Yui (俞大㵢) said that Taiwan is communicating with Haiti about some issues.
It is an ongoing process and does not touch on bilateral ties, Yui said.
The nation highly values its ties with Haiti, so the ministry has asked Liu to explain the situation “for related matters,” he said, without explaining what the “related matters” are.
China has never ceased in its attempts to poach Taiwan’s allies or reduce Taiwan’s global space, even when cross-strait relations appeared to be more peaceful, he added.
As ambassador to Haiti for a second time, Liu is familiar with Haiti’s situation and has defended Taiwan’s stance and principles during negotiations, a source familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Liu did not really leave Haiti in the 72-hour period as ordered, and diplomatic courtesy was still observed during his departure, the source said.
He left in January, but the matter was not revealed until last week, they added.
Taiwan’s project to help the country build electrical grids with a loan of US$150 million has not yet been approved by the Haitian government, but the nation would not change its commitment to helping improve the life of regular Haitians, the source said.
Taiwan is also following through on its promise to donate rice to Haiti in batches, but the total amount planned — more than 20,000 tonnes — might be halved, as the ally is not able to take in so much rice, the source added.
When Liu might return to Haiti has yet to be determined, but he remains the nation’s ambassador to Haiti at present, the source said.
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