Taiwan cuts ties with Dominican Republic

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As the Dominican Republic cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and switched it recognition to Beijing, Taiwan vowed to defy this latest encroachment and said that Beijing's plot to deprive Taiwan of worldwide space would only antagonize the Taiwanese people and fuel their resolve to resist.

The Dominican Republic and China announced Tuesday they were establishing diplomatic relations as the Caribbean country became the latest nation to dump Taiwan, leaving it with just 19 diplomatic allies around the globe.

The decision was the latest diplomatic setback for Taiwan, which is only formally recognised by a handful of countries, and follows the decision previous year by Panama to switch recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

Wang Kung-yi, professor of political science at Chinese Culture University in Taipei, said in addition to squeezing Taiwan, the diplomatic offensive was also a form of political wrestling between Washington and Beijing in Latin America - which America sees as its backyard. Costa Rica switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 2007.

Taiwan's foreign affairs chief, Joseph Wu, told reporters that the Caribbean country had notified Taiwan on Tuesday about the termination of their diplomatic relationship.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province.

Washington has close unofficial ties with Taiwan and provides the island with arms under the Taiwan Relations Act, but the U.S. has formal diplomatic relations only with Beijing.

He said that is extremely regrettable and added that Taiwan will not yield to pressure from Beijing.

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The Dominican Republic started its commercial and political contacts with China in the middle of the last decade.

Tsai's ruling Democratic Progressive Party says it wants stable relations with China, but it hasn't followed Tsai's predecessor, Ma Ying-jeou, in endorsing the "one China" principle.

Asked whether the government would adjust its foreign policy in the wake of the latest setback, Wu said the ministry would not adopt a dollar diplomacy strategy like Beijing and would continue to reinforce ties with its allies on a personal and government level.

China and Taiwan - officially the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, respectively - separated in 1949 following the Communist victory on the mainland after a civil war.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was informed of the severance of ties yesterday morning, Wu added.

In Taipei, Sonia Urbom, the spokeswoman for the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto USA embassy, said: "These efforts to alter the status quo are unhelpful and do not contribute to regional stability".

Wu said all assistance and cooperation with Dominican Republic would end immediately, while embassy officials and staff at technical missions would be repatriated.

The countries that have maintained formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan have been ones that are relatively small in population and marginal to the global economy.

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