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Taiwan diplomacy harder than ever in US-China tug of war

28 May 2018

He said China poached another of Taiwan's diplomatic partners because it wanted to vent its anger after Taiwan received backing from the global community, Chen said, citing the support Taiwan received directly and indirectly at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva this past week.

Taiwan today scrambled fighter jets to shadow Chinese bombers conducting a drill around the island, just hours after Beijing welcomed Burkina Faso's move to sever diplomatic ties with Taipei.

Weeks after the Dominican Republic switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taiwan to China, Burkina Faso-one of Taiwan's last remaining African allies-has done the same.

In a statement, the foreign minister of the African country, Alpha Barry, said the decision had been driven by "the evolution of the world and the socio-economic challenges of our country and region push us to reconsider our position".

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Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang would not say directly when China would establish ties with Burkina Faso, saying instead there was nothing surprising about countries wanting to develop normal relations with China.

"We made adjustments to our websites earlier this year and, along with various other airlines worldwide, have been given additional time to further clarify how we refer to Chinese territories", a spokeswoman for Qantas said in an email.

Taiwan has accused China of luring its friends away with offers of generous aid packages.

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

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Chinese state-backed tabloid the Global Times late on Wednesday published a post on social media platform Wechat naming USA carriers United Airlines, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines as being among those that had yet to alter their characterisation of Taiwan.

While internally, some Taiwanese citizens prefer largely to maintain the status quo.

China is Africa's largest trade partner, with massive investments in mining, construction and banking, though 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. It last did so in 1973, before resuming relations with Taipei in 1994.

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The Vatican is possibly next, as the Holy See and China edge closer to an accord on the appointment of bishops there.

Taiwan diplomacy harder than ever in US-China tug of war