China snatches Dominican Republic from Taiwan in diplomatic blow

The Dominican Republic has announced it has severed ties with Taiwan and switched its allegiance to China, reducing t...

Posted: May 1, 2018 1:04 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 1:04 PM

The Dominican Republic has announced it has severed ties with Taiwan and switched its allegiance to China, reducing the number of countries with formal relations with the government in Taipei to fewer than 20.

In a hastily arranged ceremony, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart from the Caribbean country signed an agreement after the Dominican Republic moved to formally cut ties with the government in Tapei.

"Establishing diplomatic ties with China means unprecedented huge potential opportunities for the Dominican Republic's development," Wang said.

China refuses to maintain diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes Taiwan, a self-governed and democratic island off China's southeastern coast that Beijing considers an integral part of its territory.

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.

"The Dominican Republic has ignored our long-term partnership, the wishes of the people of the Dominican Republic and the years of development assistance provided by Taiwan to accept false promises of investment and aid by China," Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters.

Beijing and Taipei have a long history of rivalry in their efforts to gain economic opportunities and diplomatic support from governments around the world. With China's rapidly rising economic and political might, however, the race is increasingly tilting in China's favor.

Last year, in another major blow to Taiwan, Panama switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. There also have been strong indications that the Vatican -- Taiwan's most symbolically important remaining ally -- may follow suit in the near future.

Long-running rivalry

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.

The two sides have been governed separately since, though a shared cultural and linguistic heritage mostly endures -- with Mandarin spoken as the official language in both places.

Although both Beijing and Taipei view the island as part of China, neither government recognizes the legitimacy of the opposing side.

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.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, the country's most powerful leader in decades who recently vowed safeguard "every inch of our great motherland's territory," ordered ramped-up military exercises around the island last month.

These included live-fire drills, sailing China's only aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, and dispatching its fighters and bombers for "encirclement patrols."

Analysts see Beijing's warnings not just directed at Tsai's government in Taipei but also at the United States, which has grown closer to Taiwan under President Donald Trump.

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

'Wishful thinking'

In the past few months, the Trump administration angered Beijing by authorizing US manufacturers to sell submarine technology to Taiwan, as well as enacting the Taiwan Travel Act to encourage official visits between the US and the island.

While Tsai has expressed confidence in the Taiwanese military's capability to defend the island, she appeared to extend an olive branch to Beijing on Friday in light of the historic summit between the leaders of North and South Korea -- another divided region in Asia.

Tsai said that she would be willing to hold talks with Xi if such a meeting could take place "on an equal footing and without any political precondition" -- an idea already scoffed by China's state media as "wishful thinking."

"On the one hand, she has been stepping up efforts to make Taiwan 'less Chinese' and carrying out a policy of 'saying no to China while fawning all over the US and Japan'; and on the other hand, she now demands respect for Taiwan from the mainland and wants to talk 'without any political precondition,'" said an online commentary of the People's Daily, the ruling Chinese Communist Party's mouthpiece.

"Does Ms. Tsai think everyone else is a fool?"

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 485655

Reported Deaths: 6558
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1007641586
Ramsey43106801
Dakota36297390
Anoka33293385
Washington22078256
Stearns18734201
St. Louis14805262
Scott13290107
Wright12526115
Olmsted1178988
Sherburne872872
Carver772640
Clay691587
Rice670491
Blue Earth594735
Kandiyohi579574
Crow Wing520681
Chisago499045
Otter Tail482170
Benton446490
Winona418349
Mower404731
Douglas392668
Nobles387047
Goodhue385768
Polk343162
McLeod339349
Beltrami337951
Morrison324547
Itasca313046
Lyon313044
Becker311342
Isanti306154
Steele300411
Carlton300149
Pine282016
Freeborn280723
Nicollet258641
Todd248030
Brown245037
Le Sueur235320
Mille Lacs227447
Cass220024
Waseca208717
Meeker207434
Martin189528
Wabasha18653
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15224
Renville149640
Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134416
Wadena130920
Faribault123017
Aitkin118833
Sibley117310
Watonwan11738
Rock115714
Kanabec107519
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9448
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8045
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake74018
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68416
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned46768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362827

Reported Deaths: 5440
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58260551
Linn20670313
Scott18318210
Black Hawk16258292
Woodbury14979211
Johnson1384874
Dubuque13562194
Dallas1138690
Pottawattamie10791143
Story1024945
Warren556674
Clinton543784
Cerro Gordo533782
Webster519587
Marshall497272
Sioux494869
Buena Vista474537
Des Moines458861
Muscatine452291
Wapello4345108
Jasper417766
Plymouth395378
Lee375452
Marion359169
Jones294154
Henry293337
Carroll286249
Bremer280854
Crawford275135
Boone259730
Washington254347
Benton253854
Mahaska224746
Jackson221638
Dickinson217840
Tama213765
Kossuth208555
Clay193625
Hamilton192142
Delaware189140
Winneshiek189127
Buchanan185729
Fayette185235
Page183319
Hardin181439
Wright179931
Harrison179469
Cedar178523
Clayton168154
Butler167231
Mills163020
Floyd162741
Cherokee154836
Madison154718
Poweshiek154330
Hancock147130
Allamakee146747
Lyon145941
Iowa145023
Appanoose139247
Grundy139230
Jefferson138734
Winnebago138631
Cass134751
Calhoun133811
Mitchell130940
Louisa128241
Union126631
Chickasaw125215
Sac124618
Emmet121740
Shelby121733
Franklin118319
Humboldt117925
Guthrie116628
Palo Alto105221
Montgomery104136
Howard102921
Clarke100420
Unassigned9900
Keokuk98229
Monroe93328
Adair92128
Ida91432
Pocahontas85419
Davis83123
Monona81627
Greene77510
Lucas74021
Osceola70615
Worth6997
Taylor66612
Fremont5909
Decatur5829
Van Buren56118
Ringgold52320
Wayne48921
Audubon4889
Adams3274
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 34°
Mason City
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 35°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 36°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 34°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 31°
Mild conditions expected this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events