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Taiwan squeezed as Beijing and Burkina Faso start diplomatic ties

28 May 2018

Taiwan's air force has scrambled aircraft as Chinese bombers flew around the self-ruled island, just a few hours after Taiwan vowed not to be cowed despite losing another diplomatic ally amid growing Chinese pressure.

Under its One-China policy, China refuses to maintain diplomatic relations with any nation that recognizes Taiwan, a self-governed island off its southeastern coast which Beijing considers an integral part of its territory.

"The evolution of the world and the defined socio-economic challenges of our region required us to reconsider our position", Burkina Faso's foreign affairs minister, Alpha Barry, told journalists.

Taiwan has accused China of using dollar diplomacy to lure away its allies, promising generous aid packages, charges China has denied.

The minister also announced the immediate closure of Taiwan's embassy in Ouagadougou and the repatriation of Burkina Faso's diplomats from Taiwan.

The government of Burkina Faso promises it will have neither official relations nor official exchanges with Taiwan, it said.

Speaking to a news conference filled with local journalists, Mr. Moy praised the increased closeness between the United States and Taiwan in recent years.

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Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told university students in Taipei that Taiwan needed allies to give it a voice on the global stage, as the island was excluded from most forums like the United Nations due to China's objections.

Taiwan lost one diplomatic ally in the eight previous years under a KMT administration that supported the "1992 consensus".

China is Africa's largest trade partner, with massive investments in mining, construction and banking, although it has been less active to date in Burkina.

Barry said a delegation of Chinese experts would visit in the coming days to assess the county's needs for development assistance, hopefully in time for an agreement by September when President Roch Marc Kabore would be in Beijing for a summit between China and African leaders.

Tsai's tenure has already seen the loss of three allies to China, with the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Sao Tome and Principe all switching allegiance since 2016.

Relations with China are "no longer serving USA interests", said William Stanton, who headed the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) - the USA de-facto embassy in Taipei - from 2009 to 2012.

Burkina Faso had terminated relations with Taipei first in 1973 but restored them in 1994.

Taiwan squeezed as Beijing and Burkina Faso start diplomatic ties