Friday, November 22, 2013

What Game is Gambia Playing with Taiwan and China?

Until 15 November 2013, Gambia was one of only four countries in Africa that recognized Taiwan.  On that date, President Yahya Jammeh announced that Gambia had cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan for reasons of "national strategic interest."  Gambia hoped to remain friends with the Taiwanese people, he said.  A day after making the announcement, Jammeh posted on Facebook that the People's Republic of China is the only China Gambia recognized diplomatically as the country goes forward.  There has been no indication that Beijing has recognized Gambia.

A report in the 19 November 2013 Taipei Times titled "Taiwan Declares Ties with the Gambia 'Terminated'," states that last January President Yahya Jammeh requested $10 million in cash, which is contrary to Taiwan's foreign aid policy.  Taiwan's Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Lin, said there is no indication that Beijing had anything to do with this unexpected decision by President Jammeh.  He added that should China and Gambia establish relations, "it would be a very serious warning to us."  Taiwan and China have had an informal diplomatic truce on the issue of diplomatic representation since the election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou.   

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