Malawi unhappy with Beijing ties

Taiwan will not consider retaking Malawi as a diplomatic ally, despite rumors of the African country's discontent with Beijing, a senior Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday after local media reported that Lilongwe regretted abandoning Taiwan in December 2007.

The officials, who asked not to be named, said that under the
diplomatic truce with Beijing, Taipei would not take back a former
ally because such a move could sabotage recent cross-strait
rapprochement and rekindle the traditional hostility on the diplomatic

If someone breaks up with you, but later wants to get back with you
because he got dumped, would you take him back? said the official,
adding that if Taiwan were to take back Malawi, Beijing would not
hesitate to lure more of Taipei's remaining 23 allies.

Allies including Paraguay, Panama and Guatemala had been rumored to be
on the verge of switching recognition prior to the cross-strait
detente, but Beijing's reluctance had undermined their desire, he said.

Taipei cut ties with Malawi after 42 years of friendship in December
2007 after it was confirmed that Lilongwe had forged ties with Beijing.
The break-up, leaving Taiwan with 23 allies, was a shock to the
ministry, which said it had not seen it coming.

Beijing reportedly offered a US$6 billion financial package among other
economic incentives in exchange for recognition by Lilongwe.

The Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper) reported yesterday
that Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika was unhappy with Beijing
because of its broken promises, a mistake he feared would hurt his
chances for re-election.

Malawi's Daily Times quoted Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian  as saying
that the construction of a new parliament building would be delayed for
another 90 days because of payment issues with previous contractors.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who recently visited Malawi
during an African tour, promised that despite the global financial
crisis, Beijing would not abandon Africa.

Andrew Chang , head of MOFA's Department of African Affairs, said that
as far as he knows, during the trip Chang did not attempt to establish
contact with Taiwan's four allies on the continent — Burkina Faso,
Swaziland, Sao Tome and Principe, and Gambia.

In related news, ministry spokesman Henry Chen yesterday said that
despite recent invitations, President Ma Ying-jeou had no short-term
plans to visit Taiwan's allies in Africa, but would not rule out the
possibility for the second half of this year.


Post published in: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *