Taiwan is seeking to restore diplomatic ties with Saint Lucia, following the return to power of the Caribbean nation's opposition leader, the Liberty Times said Friday.
Taipei- Taiwan is seeking to restore diplomatic ties with Saint Lucia, which now recognizes China, following the return to power of the Caribbean nation's opposition leader, a newspaper said Friday. The Liberty Times, quoting an unnamed source, said that Taiwan Foreign Minister Huang Chih-fang is making a secret visit to Saint Lucia after pro-Taiwan former prime minister Sir John Compton's United Workers Party (UWP) won Monday's general election.
Huang, escorted by members of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Central and South American Affairs, flew Monday evening to Latin America by way of San Francisco, the source said.
The Foreign Ministry refused to confirm Huang's Latin American trip, the paper said. When asked by the paper about Saint Lucia's resuming ties with Taiwan, Ke Sen-yao, head of the ministry's Department of Central and South American Affairs, said he would be happy to see that happen.
Ke told the Liberty Times that as Compton has not been sworn in, it is too early to speculate if Saint Lucia will resume ties with Taiwan.
When asked if Taiwan will send a delegation to Compton's inauguration ceremony, Ke said only that Saint Lucia usually holds a simple swearing-in ceremony.
Compton, 81, is the so-called father of Saint Lucia's independence, having helped bring about the island's independence from Britain in 1979. He led Saint Lucia for 29 years from 1964-79 and 1982-96.
Under his rule, Saint Lucia, with a population of 160,000, opened diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984 but cut ties with Taiwan to recognize China in 1979, when Kenneth Anthony became prime minister.
Compton came out of retirement last year to resume leadership of the UWP, which he founded 40 years ago.
In Monday's general election, UWP swept 11 of 17 seats in the House of Assembly. Compton will replace Prime Minister Anthony, whose Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) was favored in polls to win the election, for a five-year term.
If Saint Lucia resumes ties with Taiwan, China will terminate ties with the Caribbean nation. Beijing sees Taiwan as its breakaway province and bars its allies from making formal contacts with Taipei. But Taiwan accepts its diplomatic allies' dual recognition of both Taipei and Beijing.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 when the Chinese Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War and fled to Taiwan to set up their government- in-exile.
Currently, only 24 countries recognize Taiwan and half of them are in Latin America.
China and Taiwan have been fighting a long-running diplomatic war to win over each other's allies. Some small, poor nations have switched back and forth between Taiwan and China several times depending on who gave more aid and cash.