China, Dominican Republic establish diplomatic ties

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The Dominican Republic has received millions of dollars in donations for development programs from Taiwan, but the government also started commercial and political contacts with China beginning in the middle of the past decade. In recent years, as China began to provide incentives to allure Taiwan's allies to change sides, rumors have been circulating that the Caribbean country would ditch Taiwan in favor of China.

The government of the Dominican Republic announced on April 30 (all times local) that it would establish diplomatic ties with China and recognize Taiwan as "inalienable part of Chinese territory".

Even though MOFA officials had repeatedly said in the past that the country's diplomatic relations with Dominican Republic remained stable, Wu said at Monday's conference the Caribbean country was always on the government's watch list since 2016. "Beijing's attempts at foreign policy have only served to drive a wedge between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, erode mutual trust, and further harm the feelings of the people of Taiwan".

Taiwan's presidential office said that despite the severe challenges, the government would not bow its head in pressure to Beijing, and vowed to do all it could to protect Taiwan's interests.

The Presidential Office condemned the actions of Beijing in offering financial aid to "lure and coerce" the Caribbean country to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The Dominican Republic severed ties with Taiwan after almost 80 years and switched its allegiance to China, Beijing and Taipei confirmed on Tuesday, in another diplomatic blow to the self-ruled island. The decision whittles Taiwan's formal allies down to 19, even as the USA takes steps toward providing more support to the self-governing island.

The countries that have maintained formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan have been ones that are relatively small in population and marginal to the global economy.

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The Dominican announcement came when it was already Tuesday in China, and Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas held a brief event Tuesday morning marking the establishment of ties.

Espinal said the government informed Taiwan of its move earlier Monday and thanked the Taiwanese for "the cooperation that we have shared for years".

"This important and correct decision made by the Dominican Republic is fully in line with the fundamental interests of the country and its people, with the trend of the history and times, as well as with the worldwide law and the basic norms of global relations".

Mainland China and Taiwan split following a civil war in 1949. It cut off relations with Tsai's government shortly after she took office in 2016 and has been steadily ratcheting up both diplomatic and economic pressure.

Adhering to the one-China principle is a universally recognized worldwide norm and a consensus of the global community, as well as the fundamental prerequisite and political foundation for China to establish and develop relations with any country, Wang said.

Beijing's actions have "unilaterally undermined the peaceful status quo across the strait and are not what a responsible member of the global community should be doing", the statement said.

Only 19 nations have official ties with Taiwan today, including the Vatican.