Taiwan Attacks China over 'Dollar Diplomacy' with Former Ally Dominican Republic

A US M1A2 Abrams tank fires during the Noble Partner 2016 joint military exercise at the Vaziani training area outside Tbilisi

The move deepens the island's worldwide isolation while its giant neighbour flexes its economic and political might on the global stage.

Flavio Dario Espinal is the legal consultant to the Dominican presidential office.

The Dominican Republic said in a statement that it "recognises that there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory".

In response to the Dominican Republic's decision, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu said on May 1 that such a move is "deeply unfortunate" and also said that Taiwan strongly condemns Beijing's plot to take away its diplomatic allies.

The Dominican Republic was lured by Beijing's pledge of a US$3.094 billion investment plan that covers seven infrastructure projects: US$1.6 billion for railways, US$400 million for highways, US$350 million for a multifunctional hydropower plant, US$300 million for a natural gas-fired power plant, US$220 million for affordable housings, US$174 million for a waste incineration plant and US$50 million for a civil aviation center, the official said.

The decision by the Dominican government to open diplomatic relations with China comes after 77 years of ties to Taiwan.

While yesterday's setback left Taiwan with only 19 diplomatic allies, most academics believed the ministry had done its best to keep the nation's friends.

Burkina Faso foreign minister Alpha Barry told Bloomberg past year his country had received "outrageous proposals" from China, but that it would not reconsider its relationship to Taiwan.

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Wu insisted that ties with the Holy See "would not be in immediate danger", even if there were to be a breakthrough agreement on designating bishops in China.

Vargas' Chinese counterpart, Wang, emphasized that the Dominican Republic "has the largest economy" in Central America and the Caribbean and that it also carries "great influence" in the region. In early 2016, shortly before Ms. Tsai took office, Beijing re-established ties with Gambia, which had maintained diplomatic relations with Taiwan for almost two decades.

The Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, lauded the decision as in line with the trend of the times and history, in comments to reporters in Beijing.

Beijing fears she will push for Taiwan's formal independence, but Ms Tsai says she wants to maintain the status quo.

"Beijing's attempts at foreign policy have only served to drive a wedge between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, erode mutual trust and further harm the feelings of the people of Taiwan", he said in English. Beijing considers the island a breakaway province and eyes reunification.

Panama and Taiwan ended diplomatic relations in June 2017 after the nation established ties with China.

The Dominican Republic's announcement follows other Latin American countries that have dropped ties with Taiwan.

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