Taiwan ‘deeply upset’ by Dominican Republic's diplomatic switch to China

People are seen inside Dominican Republic's Foreign Ministry in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on Jan 18, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SANTO DOMINGO (AFP) - Taiwan said on Tuesday (May 1) it was "deeply upset" after the Dominican Republic, one of its few remaining official allies, established diplomatic relations with China and cut ties with the island.

In response to the switch, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu announced an immediate "termination of relations" with the Caribbean country, including the end of all assistance and the recall of officials.

The Dominican Republic said late Monday (April 30) it has established diplomatic relations with China and cut off ties with Taiwan - whittling down Taipei's list of allies even more in the face of Beijing's growing influence.

"We have taken the decision to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, with the conviction that this decision will be extraordinarily positive for the future of our country," an official statement by the Carribean country read.

"The Dominican Republic recognises that there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory."

Mainland China and Taiwan split after a civil war in 1949 and while Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign nation, it has never formally declared independence. Beijing sees Taipei as part of its territory awaiting reunification.

There now remain just 19 nations worldwide with official ties to Taiwan, as its decades of Cold War era ties with Central America and the Caribbean have dwindled.

In June last year, Panama cut ties with Taipei to open relations with Beijing. Costa Rica did likewise in 2007.

An apparent warming of relations between Beijing and the Vatican - considered Taiwan's most powerful remaining official ally - has triggered concerns that the Holy See may also switch allegiance from Taiwan to China, which would come as a crushing blow to Taipei.

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