Since wresting away diplomatically Panama in June 2017, China has offered huge financial incentives to the Dominican Republic, successfully enticing it to end 77 years of ties with Taiwan May 1. The Republic of China (Taiwan) is deeply upset by China¡¦s actions. To uphold both the nation¡¦s dignity and sovereignty, the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) announces the termination of relations with the Dominican Republic, effective immediately. This extends to the immediate termination of all cooperative projects and assistance. Embassy officials and staff of technical missions will also return to Taiwan.

Dominican President Danilo Medina has made two trips to China for talks on establishing diplomatic ties since 2016. Without concern for long-established ties, the wishes of the Dominican people, or the years of developmental assistance provided the nation by Taiwan, the administration has accepted over-blown promises of investment and aid by China. Understanding that the two were maintaining close exchanges during this period, Taiwan recognized that diplomatic relations were no longer on stable ground, and watched developments closely. To express clearly how important diplomatic ties were seen in Taipei, the government dispatched high-level officials to the country in July, August, and October 2017 in an attempt to bolster relations. This appeared to stabilize ties, as evidenced by the February signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation. However, in recent weeks, we started to notice growing signs of the Dominican Republic¡¦s willingness to establish diplomatic relations with China.

Since the 1941 establishment of diplomatic ties, successive administrations of Taiwan and the Dominican Republic have engaged in fruitful cooperation. Among successful projects have been one to increase rice production that led to the Dominican Republic¡¦s becoming an exporter of this staple crop; to build the Silicon Valley of the Caribbean: the Santo Domingo Cyber Park; to build an emergency response center to improve law and order and thus bolster tourism; and to build a care center for disadvantaged children. All of these projects enjoyed the support and affirmation of the Dominican people.

The Ministry condemns China¡¦s contemptible decision to use dollar diplomacy to wrest away Taiwan¡¦s diplomatic allies, and its heavy-handed methods of suppressing Taiwan¡¦s international participation. Beijing¡¦s crude attempts at foreign policy can only drive a wedge between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, erode mutual trust, and antagonize the people of Taiwan.

Furthermore, MOFA wants to use this opportunity to remind the international community of the lack of follow-through on China¡¦s promises to former diplomatic allies of Taiwan. This is exemplified by China¡¦s failure to deliver on a pledge of US$1 billion in assistance to Costa Rica to build a refinery and $400 million to construct highways when it established ties with the country in 2007. More recently, since establishing relations with Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016, it has failed to uphold its pledge to provide US$140 million in aid. Agreed-upon plans to build an airport and deepen a harbor have also been shelved. As former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once said, Beijing ¡§encourages dependency using opaque contracts, predatory loan practices, and corrupt deals that mire nations in debt and undercut their sovereignty, denying them their long-term, self-sustaining growth.¡¨ Developing nations must beware the danger of falling into a debt trap when engaging with China.

We believe that as the world moves towards reconciliation and dialogue, as the international community moves towards regional peace and stability, including on the Korean Peninsula, as it moves towards the improved welfare of all peoples, China is moving in the opposite direction. As it continues to raise military friction in the region, as it continues to manipulate the so-called ¡§one China principle,¡¨ it has created regional and cross-strait tensions. The measures taken by China have unilaterally imperiled the peaceful cross-strait status quo, and cannot be considered those of a responsible member of the international community. Such misguided actions should cease immediately.

Although Taiwan faces serious diplomatic challenges, the government will not bow to China¡¦s pressure. We will work with friendly nations to fight for and solidify regional peace and stability, and ensure our rightful place in the international community. The nation¡¦s diplomats, meanwhile, will continue to fight to defend the nation¡¦s dignity and rights.

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