China’s new tug-of-war with Taiwan over influence in the Pacific

BEIJING – A “diplomatic tug-of-war” between China and Taiwan will spur a new wave of aid spending in the Pacific, a former Chinese diplomat predicts.

Taiwan reacted furiously on Tuesday to the Dominican Republic’s announcement in Beijing that it would end official recognition of Taiwan, after 77 years, and switch to recognise China.

China had pledged US$3 billion to the Latin American country in low interest loans and financing for highway and railway projects, an aviation computer system and gas and hydro power plants, Taiwanese officials told media.

Australian National University research fellow Denghua Zhang, who spent five years as a Chinese diplomat in the Pacific, says diplomatic competition between China and Taiwan has “revitalised”.

“As six of Taiwan’s 19 diplomatic allies are Pacific Island countries, this region will seemingly become a focus of the diplomatic tug-of-war. Foreign aid could play a prominent role in the process,” he wrote on Wednesday.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the Dominican Republic for accepting China’s “overblown promises of investment and aid”.




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