Burkina Faso rejects US$50 billion from China to ditch Taiwan

Last African allies say they will stand by Taiwan

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(By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Burkina Faso rejected offers of US$50 billion (NT$1.5 trillion) from China to dump Taiwan and switch recognition to Beijing, the African country’s foreign minister told Bloomberg, in a report published Wednesday.

After a sudden decision by Sao Tome and Principe last month, Taiwan has been left with only two official diplomatic allies in the continent, Burkina Faso and Swaziland, out of 21 allies worldwide.

According to Bloomberg, people and companies with links to China have been making offers to the two African countries to abandon Taiwan.

“We get outrageous proposals telling us, ‘if you sign with Beijing we’ll offer you $50 billion or even more,’” Bloomberg quoted Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Alpha Barry as saying. “Taiwan is our friend and our partner. We’re happy and we see no reason to reconsider the relationship,” the reporters quoted Barry.

The minister said that talks with Taiwan last September resulted in subsidies of US$47 million (NT$1.4 billion) spread over two years for sectors like education, agriculture and defense. Worker training programs and tuition for some university students are also offered by Taiwan, Bloomberg noted.

Taiwan’s other African ally, landlocked Swaziland, also emphasized it was not interested in dollar diplomacy. “We’re very happy with our relationship and intend to maintain it for a very long time because our friendship is based on our national interest and not on the size of Taiwan’s wallet,” Bloomberg quoted Swaziland government spokesman Percy Simelane.

Last year, China intensified relations with Gambia, which ended ties to Taiwan in 2013. Just earlier this month, Nigeria, which doesn’t even have official links with Taipei, ordered the island to close its trade mission in the capital Abuja and move it to Lagos, its most populated city.