Dec 20, 2004

Vanuatu scraps deal with Taiwan

Vanuatu has reversed a controversial decision to establish diplomatic links with Taiwan instead of China
Following a change of government, the Pacific island's new foreign minister said Vanuatu revoked its Taiwan deal.

The turn-around represents a victory for Beijing in a long-running dispute with Taipei over diplomatic recognition.

Beijing claims Taiwan as its territory, and strongly discourages countries from having diplomatic ties with the island.

Following Vanuatu's decision, only 26 countries choose to have ties with Taipei rather than Beijing.

Many Pacific and other countries have been lured by both sides with promises of economic rewards if they switch allegiance.

Change of government

The latest dispute began last month, when Vanuatu's then Prime Minister, Serge Vohor, announced agreement to grant Taiwan diplomatic recognition.
But almost immediately, both Beijing and many senior officials in Vanuatu objected to the deal, saying that the island should maintain ties with China.

Mr Vohor was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote against him last week.

Late on Wednesday, Vanuatu's new Foreign Minister, Sato Kilman, said his government had "revoked all agreements made by Vohor with Taiwan".

New Prime Minister Ham Lini also wrote to China's Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday, telling him that the deal with Taiwan was no longer valid, and adding that his government "adheres to and respects the one-China policy" - which sees Taiwan as part of China.

But Taiwan has still not given up completely. In a statement on Thursday, Taipei's foreign ministry said that until it received official notice from Vanuatu, diplomatic relations between both sides still existed.


Source: BBC