TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) denied Wednesday that the country’s diplomatic ties with eSwatini are at risk, even though a senior Chinese diplomat said earlier China looked forward to seeing all African leaders taking part in a summit scheduled next month in Beijing.
“This is an exaggerated issue,” said Wu, emphasizing that he just had a luncheon with eSwatini Foreign Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze hours ago and that they discussed how to strengthen bilateral relations.
The ministry has not made any announcement about the visit of the eSwaitini foreign minister to Taiwan. Speaking with Reuters on Wednesday, Gamedze said Beijing should not “play mind games” as the government of eSwaitini is not interested in terminating the five-decade relationship with Taiwan.
eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, is Taiwan’s only ally in Africa, after Burkina Faso severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China in May.
In a campaign to isolate Taiwan and diminish the country’s international presence, China has been poaching the country’s allies. Following the rupture of formal relations with the Central American nation, El Salvador, on Tuesday, Taiwan currently has only 17 diplomatic allies, including the Vatican.
Speaking on Wednesday about the summit between China and its African allies, Chen Xiaodong (陳曉東), assistant foreign minister of China, said Beijing looks forward to seeing all African countries participate in the big event, with none left behind.