TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan will open its new representative office in Lagos on January 5 after the government of Nigeria forced it to close down its original office in the capital Abuja under Chinese pressure last year.
The 800-kilometer move last December 8 included 20 hours of overland travel in the company of 15 armed police, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Tuesday.
As a form of retaliation, MOFA said it had sent a message to the Nigerian office in Taiwan to move out of Taipei City. The office said it had received the notice and was awaiting instructions from superiors on when and where the move would take place, the Central News Agency reported.
The African country first demanded the Taiwanese office leave Abuja, change its name and cut staff in January last year, a demand which was seen as linked to a visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
In March, Nigeria asked the Taiwanese representative to leave the country “because it could not guarantee his safety.” Three months later, a team of 25 police officers erupted into the Taiwanese office to order staff to leave and seal the place, which triggered a strong protest from Taipei and the idea that Nigeria’s office should also be asked to leave the capital.