TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As a result of Chinese pressure, Taiwan was forced to move its office from the official capital of Nigeria and change its name, but it would strike back by asking the African country to move its representation out of Taipei City, reports said Wednesday.
The new tension came just hours after a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said Nigeria was one of five countries where Taiwanese offices faced pressure to change their name, and a day after the sudden ending to more than 100 years of relations with Panama.
MOFA first said that the representative offices in Nigeria, Bahrain, Dubai, Jordan and Ecuador were being pressured to change their names, which mostly included the terms “Republic of China” or “Taiwan.”
Later Wednesday afternoon, the government said its office in the Nigerian capital Abuja had ceased to function and the chief representative had returned to the country. The new office, in the country’s most populous city of Lagos, would bear the name “Taipei Trade Office.”
Taiwan vowed equal treatment and struck back by demanding Nigeria move its office on the island out of Taipei City, reports said.
The first signs of tension between Nigeria and Taiwan emerged earlier this year, when the issue of the office’s name came up around the time of a visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi (王毅) to the African country.
In April, MOFA summoned the Nigerian representative to hear its protest against the pressure and both sides tried to work out a solution acceptable to both sides, but none seems to have been found, reports said.
The Presidential Office said Wednesday the government would do its utmost to protect the freedom and democracy of the people and its right to an international space.