Burkina Faso breaks ties with Taiwan in fresh blow to island

(24 May 2018) Burkina Faso has broken diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the West African nation’s foreign minister said Thursday, in the latest blow to the self-ruled island that Beijing has been trying to isolate on the global stage.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu responded at a briefing Thursday in Taipei.
Wu said, “China snatching our diplomatic allies, and suppressing Taiwan’s diplomacy, will not bring our countries closer nor take our relations toward peace and friendliness.”
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said, “We will establish more substantive partnerships and strive for the support of the international community.”
Burkina Faso’s decision means Taiwan is recognised as a sovereign nation by only 18 mainly small, developing countries.
Earlier this month, the Dominican Republic established diplomatic relations with China and severed ties with Taiwan.
Burkino Faso’s foreign minister also announced the immediate closure of Taiwan’s embassy in Ouagadougou and the repatriation of Burkina Faso’s diplomats from Taiwan.
China’s foreign ministry said Beijing appreciates Burkina Faso’s move to sever ties with Taiwan.
Beijing, which claims the island as its own territory, has been steadily dialing up the pressure on Taiwan’s independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen.
China has blocked Taiwan’s participation in international meetings such as the World Health Assembly and has pressured multinational companies ranging from fashion brands to airlines to describe Taiwan as part of China.
The ruling Communist Party’s military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, has sent fighter planes near Taiwan’s coast a dozen times since Tsai’s election and an aircraft carrier sailing through the 110-mile-wide (170-kilometer-wide) strait that separates them.
Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party says it wants stable relations with China, but hasn’t followed Tsai’s predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, in endorsing the “one China” principle.
Some analysts say Chinese President Xi Jinping, one of the most powerful Chinese leaders in decades, seems determined to bring Taiwan under Beijing’s control during his time in office, something that would place him in the history books alongside Mao Zedong.
Xi has warned a Taiwanese envoy that the issue of unification cannot be put off indefinitely.

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