By Odunewu Segun
Nigeria has officially cut diplomatic relations with Taiwan, an Island nation regarded by mainland China as a renegade province, demanding that it moved it office from Abuja to Lagos, a request sees by many, including Taiwan as being pressure by china to isolate it.
This latest development, National Daily gathered was not unconnected with Nigeria’s desperate moves to secure China’s economic assistance, especially the $20bn loan from the China’s EXIMbank promised last year.
Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and to be taken back by force if necessary, especially if it makes moves toward independence.
Recall that earlier on Wednesday, Nigeria’s federal government said she will no longer recognize Taiwan as a country but rather pledged support for One China.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this while answering questions from newsmen after a joint news conference with the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.
Onyeama said Nigeria had withdrawn all diplomatic relations with Taiwan as a country, adding that Taiwanese office in Abuja would be shut down and be relocated to Lagos
According to him, Nigeria has communicated Taiwan and they are moving to Lagos as soon as possible. “Taiwan will stop enjoying any privileges because it is not a country that is recognised under international law and under the position we have taken internationally we recognise the people of China.”
He said that Nigeria recognised the People’s Republic of China as country because Nigeria was one the leading African nations that fought for China to reclaim its seat at the UN Security Council from Taiwan.
According to Onyeama, China is one of the countries that have been in full support of reforms in the UN that would see Africa having two seats at the UN Security Council, as such deserved to be supported in her unification drive of One China.
Taiwan has officially called on Nigeria to consider the issue as both sides have an understanding based on reciprocity, under which Nigeria runs a trade office in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei.
While economic ties between the mainland and Taiwan have grown considerably in recent years, their relations have worsened since Tsai Ing-wen, who heads a pro-independence party, was elected president of the island last year.
Taiwan has 21 formal allies, only two in Africa. Last month, former African ally Sao Tome switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. In countries with which Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relations it often sets up trade and commerce offices, in capitals and major cities.