TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed Wednesday that the small west African country of Sao Tome has made an announcement to end diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Foreign Ministry David Lee said in a press conference that Taiwan was unable to satisfy the west African nation’s huge financial shortages.
Now in Africa, only Burkina Faso and Swaziland still maintain formal ties with Taiwan.
In order to uphold the nation’s dignity, Taiwan will immediately withdraw all its diplomatic missions from the country, Lee said.
In May 1997, Sao Tome switched diplomatic relation from China to Taiwan. The two countries have maintained mutual diplomatic relationships for nearly 20 years.
This is yet another serious blow to Taiwan as it has already experienced very restrictive diplomatic relations with the world. Just this March, another west African nation of Gambia also terminated diplomatic ties with Taiwan, followed by an announcement from Beijing that it had resumed diplomatic relations with the African nation.
Taiwan now has diplomatic relationships with only 21 countries.
Sources revealed that Sao Tome and Principe had recently asked for financial assistance of up to US$100 million dollars, but was turned down by the ROC government due to its unwillingness to engage in “dollar diplomacy.”
Taiwan’s Presidential Office earlier in an official statement expressed the nation’s strong condemnation of the move and noted with deep regret that the inappropriate breaking of ties has “hurt the feelings of the Taiwanese people.”