Taiwan president-elect, Tsai Ying-Wen. (Internet photo)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (CMC) — President Tsai Ing-wen is to visit the Caribbean later this year amid concerns that Taiwan’s relations with some Caribbean allies have become “unstable”, Foreign Minister David Lee said Monday.

Taiwan has relations with St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Belize, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and Lee acknowledged that relations with one or more of the Caribbean are “kind of unstable”.

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“That is why a visit by President Tsai Ing-wen to allies in that region in the second half of this year is being planned as part of the government’s efforts to cement ties with diplomatic partners there,” Lee said when answering questions from Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lo Chih-cheng at the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee.

Lee said that his ministry has taken measures to improve bilateral ties with these countries in question and that the situation is under control.

“The Foreign Ministry has been keeping close tabs on ties with Taiwan’s diplomatic allies and will address issues immediately if it notices something wrong,” he said, without elaborating on which country or countries in the Caribbean are in question.

Last August, the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines said it would switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China if it is elected to office in the next general election.

The announcement represented a change in one of the last common policies that the NDP shared with the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP).

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and President Tsai in Taiwan in October 2013.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has maintained unbroken diplomatic ties with Taiwan since 1981, even as several other Caribbean nations, including Dominica and Grenada, have switched ties over the last decade.

Beijing says Taiwan is a renegade province to be reunited with the mainland, by force, if necessary.

The NDP said that as a modern political organisation, it continues to discuss and formulate a range of appropriate measures and responses to ongoing geo-political realities.

“In this regard, fully cognisant of the ever-evolving symmetry of international affairs, and the principal responsibility and obligation of our party in or out of Government to diligently pursue and protect the best strategic interests of our country, I hereby formally announce that the New Democratic Party of St Vincent and the Grenadines, as of today’s date, August 23, 2016, has taken the decision to recognise the United Nations accepted norm of a One China Policy,” then NDP leader Arnhim Eustace said in a statement last August.

Last year, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sir Louis Straker, said Kingstown was hoping to establish diplomatic presence in Taiwan.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has benefitted significantly from it relationship with Taiwan both in terms of infrastructural and human resource development.

Taiwan financed the terminal building at the Argyle International Airport, 15 learning resource centres across the country, and bridges and other pieces of infrastructure projects.

3 replies on “Taiwan president to visit Caribbean amid concerns over ‘unstable’ relations”

  1. Why Arnhim had to make such a statement beats me. That was dumb. There as no need for it. Is the entire island population sharing the same idea? These politicians always believe they know what the people need. They don’t hold town hall meetings to present their ideas and get feedback from the people. I hope Friday will see the advantage of visiting the people and speaking to them. I hope he doesn’t allow the ULP to steal this idea and run with it. They are very good at this..

  2. skeckpalmer, it beats me too. vincy politicians appear to speak to the choir on important issues and ignores the congregation.

  3. It beats me that in 2017, that the conservative party of SVG is trying to strengthen relationship with a communist country while the leftist party in power (which have more in common with communism) is trying to maintain good relationship with one of the oldest democracies in the region.

    No wonder the NDP can’t win elections, they have no convictions…

    PS and I once had more in common with NDP but if they continue going the way they’ve been going, I can not longer maintain a relationship with them.

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