Taiwan leader visits allies to safeguard ties after Gambia blow
TAIPEI (AFP) - Taiwan's president on Thursday began a three-country tour as part of a bid to safeguard ties with Taipei's dwindling diplomatic base after the recent loss of long-time ally Gambia.
Mr Ma Ying-jeou, who is scheduled to return on Thursday next week, will travel to Sao Tome and Principe, and Burkina Faso - two of the only three African countries that now officially recognise Taipei after Gambia cut off ties in November.
During the eight-day trip he will also travel to Honduras to attend the inauguration of Juan Orlando Hernandez as president, scheduled for January 27, according to the presidential office.
This will mark Mr Ma's first overseas state visit since Gambia's surprise move to break off ties with Taiwan after 18 years.