Leader of Sao Tome, Principe tells why he cut Tai­wan ties

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By MO JINGXI mo­jingxi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China’s im­por­tance as a strate­gic part­ner and the need to im­prove the lives of the peo­ple of Sao Tome and Principe made break­ing re­la­tions with Tai­wan the right de­ci­sion, Prime Min­is­ter Pa­trice Trovoada said on Thurs­day.

It was the first of­fi­cial com­ment af­ter the African is­land na­tion an­nounced on Tues­day that it had sev­ered ties with Tai­wan that had been es­tab­lished in 1997.

“We have our pro­gram and we have a com­mit­ment to the peo­ple to im­prove their liv­ing con­di­tions,” he was quoted by Reuters as say­ing, adding that China is “a very im­por­tant strate­gic re­la­tion­ship”.

For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said on Fri­day that Trovoada’s state­ment voiced a pro­found truth in clear lan­guage — the one-China prin­ci­ple has in­creas­ingly been en­dorsed.

“We be­lieve that China’s win-win and open-minded co­op­er­a­tion with other coun­tries will be con­ducive to their eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

When asked whether China has a strat­egy for en­cour­ag­ing other coun­tries to cut re­la­tions with Tai­wan, Hua said: “You (the jour­nal­ist) used a lot of in­ter­est­ing words. ... If China does have a strat­egy, it is that we al­ways in­sist on de­vel­op­ing friendly part­ner­ships with coun­tries around the world, on the ba­sis of the one-China prin­ci­ple and the Five Prin­ci­ples of Peace­ful Coex­is­tence.”

Those five prin­ci­ples are: mu­tual re­spect for each other’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity and sovereignty; mu­tual non-ag­gres­sion; mu­tual non-in­ter­fer­ence in each other’s in­ter­nal af­fairs; equal­ity and co­op­er­a­tion for mu­tual ben­e­fit; and peace­ful co-ex­is­tence.

Ear­lier, Hua dis­missed ac­cu­sa­tions that China en­gaged in “dol­lar diplo­macy” to get Sao Tome and Principe to cut ties with Tai­wan.

“How can the recog­ni­tion of the one-China prin­ci­ple be bought with money? The Chi­nese govern­ment never trades on its prin­ci­ples,” she said.

Lin Gang, a pro­fes­sor of Tai­wan Stud­ies with the School of In­ter­na­tional and Public Af­fairs at Shang­hai Jiao Tong Univer­sity, said the global com­mu­nity has a broad con­sen­sus over the one-China prin­ci­ple, and “Sao Tome and Principe’s de­ci­sion sim­ply con­forms to such a trend”.

Ac­cord­ing to Lin, there is no need at all for China to play the “money game”, be­cause the large Chi­nese mar­ket can pro­vide a lot of com­mer­cial op­por­tu­ni­ties for other coun­tries that out­weigh any money that Tai­wan could pro­vide.

Wang Hail­iang, a re­searcher of Tai­wan stud­ies at the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sciences, said the break­ing of ties also sent a warn­ing to Tai­wan au­thor­i­ties not to chal­lenge the one-China prin­ci­ple. “This is only a be­gin­ning, and there will be more coun­tries that choose to cut their ‘diplo­matic ties’ with Tai­wan,” he said.

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