- Title: TAIWAN: Taiwan aims to build a new network of allies in Africa
- Date: 5th September 2007
- Summary: (AD1) TAIPEI, TAIWAN (SEPTEMBER 4, 2007) (REUTERS) THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, JAMES HUANG, SITTING ON THE SOFA CAMERA FILMING JAMES HUANG READING A REPORT REPORTERS TYPING CLOSE-UP OF HANDS TYPING REPORTER ASKING JAMES HUANG A QUESTION
- Embargoed: 20th September 2007 13:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAC8ZUAG4LYIM74JVFWX864XYKW
- Story Text: Taipei woos China's African allies, ahead of a Taiwan Africa 'summit' next weekend.
Isolated Taiwan hopes to win new diplomatic allies in Africa away from giant rival China by drawing on the resentment some feel over their treatment as a "big factory" for resources, Foreign Minister James Huang said on Tuesday (September 4).
Those countries wanted to set up formal relations with Taiwan, which they felt would not demand their resources in the way China does, Huang told Reuters in an interview.
"A lot of countries actually hold out hope for Taiwan," Huang said. "As for Africa, there are friends who say China's policies towards them are a disaster, because China is not helping them develop. Its goal is to use resources and turn them into a big Chinese factory for export of raw materials."
China, the world's fastest-growing major economy, has more than 170 diplomatic partners, including the world's largest and most influential nations, while Taiwan struggles to hang on to its pool of just two dozen smaller, mostly poor allies.
Taiwan lost Costa Rica to China in June after 63 years of ties.
China has claimed sovereignty over self-ruled Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949. Beijing has vowed to bring the island back under mainland rule, by force if necessary.
China has aggressively sought energy and other natural resources in Africa, including controversial trade with Sudan, to fuel the world's fourth-largest economy.
To reduce Taiwan's international profile and pressure the island to unify with China, Beijing tries to wrest away Taiwanese allies, with the two competing with chequebook diplomacy for allegiance.
Under its "one China" policy, China does not allow its allies to form separate ties with Taiwan.
"In the past few years all of China's proactive projects in every African country have been a strike against Taiwan. Under those circumstances we need a mutual high-level, multilateral system of communication," said Huang.
Taiwan, which offers allies expertise in health care, technology and infrastructure, has invited senior leaders of its five allies in Africa to a summit in Taipei on Sunday (September 9) to discuss poverty relief, global warming and civil unrest in Africa, Huang said.
Taiwan's bids for United Nations (U.N.) membership, which supporters of Security Council member China have blocked for 15 years, should eventually succeed as global politics shift, he added.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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