Nigeria acts against Taiwan, pushed by China to toe ''One China'' policy

13 January 2017

Nigeria asks Taiwanese trade officials to move their representative office from the Nigerian capital Abuja to Lagos, the commercial hub. The move comes after the visit of China's foreign minister to the country.

Nigeria's request underlines Nigeria's support for Beijing's "One China" policy. Under the policy China demands severance of relations with Taiwan, as China regards it as rebel-held territory within Chinese borders.

Also, president elect Donald Trump had heightened tensions between the US and China by suggesting that his administration could reconsider nearly four decades of US support for "One China" – a provocation that, according to some analysts, had spurred China's recent actions.
"The foreign ministry seriously objects and condemns the unreasonable actions by the Nigerian government," Taiwan said on Thursday in a statement urging Nigeria to reconsider its decision.

After meeting Wednesday with his Chinese counterpart, Nigerian foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama said Taiwan would not have any diplomatic representation whatsoever in Nigeria and "a trade mission with a skeletal staff" would operate in Lagos, state news agency NAN reported.

According to commentators, Nigeria would not be the first nation in recent weeks to snub Taiwan after meeting with Chinese officials. São Tomé and Príncipe, an island nation off the west coast of Africa, last month decided to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which Taiwan had condemned as an "abrupt and unfriendly decision."

With the move, Taiwan now has only two formal Taiwan allies in Africa. Globally, only 22 states formally recognised Taiwan.

According to Wang Kao-cheng, the dean of the Tamkang University College of International Studies in Taiwan, Trump's comments on the "One China" policy – and other recent changes to the trilateral relationship among Taiwan, the US, and China – might have led to Beijing's efforts in São Tomé and Príncipe, as The Taipei Times reported.

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