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Relations with Malawi solid, MOFA says

Relations with Malawi solid, MOFA says

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs insisted yesterday that diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Malawi remained strong while the African country's envoy to Taiwan denied that his government would soon recognize China.
"We have made inquiries to the Malawian government through its ambassador in Taiwan regarding the report, and their officials have denied that there has been any change in bilateral relations," MOFA spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh (葉非比) said yesterday at a news conference.
Yeh said the ministry was aware, however, that the Chinese government had indeed intended to pay an "astronomical figure" to Malawi in an attempt to entice it to sever ties with Taiwan and establish formal relations with Beijing.
The MOFA would not take the warning sounded by this incident lightly even after Malawi promised that diplomatic ties would not be cut, Yeh said.
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Tzu-pao (楊子葆) and the head of the ministry's African Affairs Department, Chang Yun-ping, were sent to Malawi in recent days to better understand the situation and preserve the formal alliance between the two sides, Yeh said.
She was responding to a report in Malawi newspaper "Nyasa Times" dated December 22, which said that Malawi's president had sanctioned severing diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor of China.
Citing sources from the Malawi cabinet, the report disclosed that two senior cabinet ministers - the minister of Presidential and Parliamentary Affairs Davis Katsonga and Minister of Energy and Mining Henry Chimunthu Banda - were flying to Beijing yesterday via Bangkok to sign a Memorandum of Understanding that would pave the way for the establishment of diplomatic missions between the two countries.
Yeh said yesterday afternoon, however, that based on ministry sources, the Malawian officials had not yet departed.
In a meeting with Foreign Minister James Huang (黃志芳) over the weekend, Malawi's ambassador to Taiwan, Thengo Maloya, gave his assurances that political ties between Taiwan and the African country of 13.6 million people remained stable.
Maloya reiterated that bilateral relations remained unchanged in a second meeting with Huang yesterday monring.
"My attendance here can serve as a best reaffirmation to you that there has been no change in Taiwan-Malawi relations," the African envoy said after the meeting.
Acknowledging that he had read the report of the imminent change in ties, Maloya said it did not represent the Malawian government's stance and that the friendship between the two sides remained firm.
According to a senior MOFA official, Beijing is offering several billion U.S. dollars to assist Malawi in building infrastructure in the country to gain access to the African country's rich mineral resources while demoralizing Taiwan by stealing away one of its 24 remaining allies.
China had lured many countries with promises of large amounts of investment, the source said, but cautioned that the Chinese might not keep their promise and focus on their own interests instead.


Updated : 2021-06-15 08:56 GMT+08:00