Friday, March 18, 2016

China Re-establishes Diplomatic Ties with Gambia

Bloomberg Business published on 18 March 2016 an article titled "China's Gambia Move Reminds Tsai of Power to Isolate Taiwan."

China formally re-established relations with Gambia on 17 March, more than two years after the West African nation severed ties with Taiwan.  Throughout the eight-year presidency of Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan, China and Taiwan had an informal agreement not to steal diplomatic recognition from the other party.  This policy held until after the election this year in Taiwan of opposition leader Tsai Ing-wen. 

After Gambia broke relations with Taiwan in November 2013, only 22 small states, including the Holy See, maintained diplomatic relations with Taipei.  Today, only three countries in Africa have relations with Taiwan: Sao Tome and Principe, Burkina Faso, and Swaziland.  China's recognition of Gambia may portend a stepped up effort by China to obtain the recognition of these African countries and others that still recognize Taiwan. 

China's Sinohydro has already agreed to replace Gambia's aging electricity supply system, although the terms of the project are not clear.

On 18 March 2016 Taiwan strongly protested the resumption of Gambia-China diplomatic ties.

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