TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - As China has lured away more of its old diplomatic allies, Taiwan has been refocusing its efforts on large democracies, the Financial Times of London wrote Tuesday in a report titled “Taiwan shifts gears as China poaches diplomatic allies.”
Since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, five countries have switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing, leaving Taipei with only 17 official allies, most of them small or impoverished countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
Taiwan is now emphasizing relations with countries like the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, mentioning “shared threats emanating from China to a host of pragmatic cooperation projects,” the Financial Times wrote.
The ties might help “soften the blow” if Taiwan’s number of allies ever dropped to zero, according to the British newspaper.
If that ever happened, Taiwanese presidents could also lose the opportunity of transiting through the U.S. on their way to and from official allies, trapping them on the island, the Financial Times remarked. The stopovers have often been distributed between the U.S. West Coast and East Coast, with senior members of Congress, local politicians, think tank experts, and members of the Overseas Taiwanese community eager to meet the island’s president.
Closer ties with Washington still could intensify in the event a free trade deal is ratified, while the Tsai Administration has also been paying more attention to links with European countries, the Financial Times reported. The paper also mentions the dialogue with India and discussions with Australia and New Zealand about the efficiency of its Pacific aid.