Published: Mon, May 28, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

Taiwan Loses Burkina Faso's Diplomatic Recognition as China Cheers

Taiwan Loses Burkina Faso's Diplomatic Recognition as China Cheers

Japanese retailer Muji was fined after being found to be using packaging that listed Taiwan as a country while United States retailer Gap Inc issued an apology last week for selling a T-shirt which it said had an incorrect map of China.

Although the African nation made no direct mention of China in its statement, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry said Beijing "welcomes Burkina Faso to join in China-Africa friendly cooperation as soon as possible on the basis of the one-China principle". China's official Xinhua news agency ran a brief dispatch reporting the news from Burkina Faso, but without giving Beijing's reaction.

Taiwan's air force scrambled aircraft on Friday as Chinese bombers flew around the self-ruled island, just a few hours after Taiwan vowed not to be cowed having lost another diplomatic ally amid growing Chinese pressure.

Speaking at a hastily arranged news conference in Taipei, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said he had offered his resignation to President Tsai Ing-wen.

The minister also announced the immediate closure of Taiwan's embassy in Ouagadougou and the repatriation of Burkina Faso's diplomats from Taiwan.

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Some analysts say Chinese President Xi Jinping, one of the most powerful Chinese leaders in decades, seems determined to bring Taiwan under Beijing's control during his time in office, something that would place him in the history books alongside Mao Zedong.

Chinese Civil Aviation Administration sent a notice to 36 foreign airlines last month, asking them to comply with Beijing's standards of referring to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as Chinese territories, in a move described by the White House as "Orwellian nonsense".

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

This act of perceived intimidation came hours after Taiwan expressed that it would not crack under pressure despite continuing to lose its allies to the People's Republic of China which has engaged in a "dollar diplomacy".

China is Africa's largest trade partner, with massive investments in mining, construction and banking, although it has been less active to date in Burkina.

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Sao Tome and Principe cut ties with Taiwan in December 2016, followed by Panama in June 2017.

Some countries have switched back and forth between Beijing and Taipei several times.

Burkina Faso's decision means Taiwan is recognized as a sovereign nation by only 18 mainly small, developing countries.

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

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