China denies role in Gambia¡¦s move
¡¥DOMINO EFFECT¡¦: Taiwan¡¦s relations with El
Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic are now all in danger,
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang said
By Shih Hsiu-chuan / Staff reporter
Democratic Progressive Party
legislators Hsiao Bi-khim, Chiu Yi-ying, Gao Jyh-peng and Tsai Huang-liang, left
to right, comment on Gambia¡¦s break-off of diplomatic relations with Taiwan at a
press conference in Taipei yesterday.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
While China insisted that it was not
involved in the Gambia¡¦s decision to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, lawmakers
yesterday demanded that the government review President Ma Ying-jeou¡¦s (°¨^¤E)
policy of ¡§flexible diplomacy¡¨ and take precautions to prevent a domino effect
in the wake of the incident.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh announced on Thursday that diplomatic relations
with Taiwan would be severed with immediate effective.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei (¬x½U) said in response to
media queries, said that Beijing was caught unaware by the move and that China
was not in contact with the Gambia.
In Taipei, politicians across party lines cast doubt on the effectiveness of
Ma¡¦s policy of ¡§flexible diplomacy¡¨ that underpinned the nation¡¦s ¡§diplomatic
truce¡¨ with China.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) issued a three-point statement saying
that the incident demonstrated the failure of Ma¡¦s policy of ¡§flexible
diplomacy¡¨ and that the government must immediately engage in crisis management
to prevent a domino effect.
The DPP demanded that the government explain in detail why the Gambia cut the
ties and that officials in charge of national security and diplomatic affairs
The party also asked Ma to shift his policy away from managing cross-strait
relations as a priority to focusing on foreign policy and issues of
international and regional concerns.
Meanwhile, government officials, Presidential Office Secretary-General Timothy
Yang (·¨¶i²K), Premier Jiang Yi-huah (¦¿©y¾ì) and Deputy Vice Foreign Minister Simon
Ko (¬_´ËÄ£), all said that the incident could be attributed more to Jammeh¡¦s
¡§personal characteristics¡¨ than either China or Ma¡¦s policy.
Jammeh did not give any reason as to why it has also withdrawn from the
Commonwealth after 48 years and that the UK was also in the dark, they said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (½²·×·ã) asked the government to be vigilant about
relationships with El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic,
saying that all are in danger.
The government should terminate aid projects, which are being implemented in the
Gambia, DPP Legislator Hsueh Ling (Á§â) said.
According to DPP Legislator Liu Chao-Hao (¼BÂg»¨), the aid projects for the Gambia
in next year¡¦s government budget were valued at NT$400 million (US$13.5
Jiang did not take the advice, saying that the government would only end the
projects ¡X including in the areas of medicine and construction and agriculture ¡X
if it fails to retain relations with the Gambia.
Should the government fail to retain ties, about 200 Gambian students studying
in Taiwan under scholarship schemes run by the government will not face
immediate deportation to the Gambia, Jiang said.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (ªL§¤è), an outspoken
supporter of ¡§flexible diplomacy,¡¨ said the government has to get to the bottom
of the situation of whether China broke the tacit agreement that underpinned the
policy of ¡§flexible diplomacy.¡¨