Dominican Republic opens diplomatic ties with China, drops Taiwan

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Beijing insists that only it has the right to represent China in worldwide society.

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

In June a year ago, Panama cut ties with Taipei to open relations with Beijing.

Espinal said that even without formal diplomatic relations with China, trade between the two countries "has grown year after year to the point that today China is the second biggest supplier of our imports".

At an emergency press conference, Taiwan's foreign minister Joseph Wu said the government "deeply regrets that Dominican Republic and China established ties on May 1".

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Taipei reacted angrily to the news, which left the island with 19 diplomatic allies around the world - mostly small and poor countries in the Pacific and the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic being the largest before the latest development.

China and Taiwan have competed to entice each other's allies over the years, often offering generous aid packages to developing nations. The decision whittles Taiwan's formal allies down to 19, even as the United States takes steps toward providing more support to the self-governing island.

The situation appeared to have improved after Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Maria Liu's (劉德立) visit to the Dominican Republic in October a year ago, during which Medina told Liu of his intention to maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the official said.

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

Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi and Dominican Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas held a brief event Tuesday morning marking the new ties between the two.

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Even though Taiwan has been isolated from the global community, people can still make an effort to make it a better place, Lim told the US publication.

Taipei said it was "deeply upset" at the decision, which it blamed on "dollar diplomacy". "Beijing's attempts at foreign policy have only served to drive a wedge between the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, erode mutual trust, and further harm the feelings of the people of Taiwan".

Taiwan will also halt all bilateral cooperative projects, cut all assistance to the Dominican Republic, and pull out its diplomatic staff and technical missions from the country that has had ties with the Republic of China for 77 years, Wu said. The investment includes $400 million for a freeway and $300 million for a new gas-fired power plant.

China's foreign ministry said the move was a political one with no economic pre-conditions, but that now they have established ties, China will "proactively promote mutually beneficial co-operation in all areas".

There is a strong pro-independence sentiment within Taiwan's current ruling party led by President Tsai Ing-wen, prompting Beijing to harden its stance and stress its long-standing pledge to retake the island by force if necessary.

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