TAIPEI/BEIJING: The Dominican Republic severed ties with Taiwan after nearly 80 years and switched its allegiance to China, Beijing and Taipei confirmed on Tuesday, in another diplomatic blow to the self-ruled island.
The news that the Caribbean nation agreed to establish diplomatic relations with China in favour of Taiwan drew strong condemnation from Taiwan’s foreign minister, Joseph Wu.
He said China had offered financial incentives to attract the Dominican Republic’s support.
“President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic has ignored our long-term partnership, the wishes of the people of the Dominican Republic, and the years of development assistance provided by Taiwan, to accept false promises of investment and aid by China,” Wu said at a news briefing.
Taiwan now has formal relations with only 19 countries, many of them poor nations in Central America and the Pacific. Panama cut its diplomatic ties in favour of Beijing in June last year.
The Caribbean nation had been a diplomatic ally of Taiwan for 77 years.
Its switch is a diplomatic victory for Beijing, which has often dangled generous aid packages in front of developing nations. Taipei has struggled to compete with an increasingly powerful China.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, told reporters the two countries would now exchange ambassadors.
“This important and correct decision by the Dominican Republic absolutely accords with the basic interests of the country and its people,” Wang said.