The News Lens
By: J. Michael Cole
The loss of São Tomé and Príncipe, and of The Gambia before that, hardly constitute a knockout of
Taiwan, writes J. Michael Cole.
The African nation of São Tomé and Príncipe on Dec. 20 announced that it was severing diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and establishing ties with the People’s Republic of China.
Following the news, Taipei announced that it was immediately severing diplomatic ties with the African country and withdrawing all diplomatic and technical personnel.
Taiwan now has 21 official diplomatic allies worldwide, and just two in Africa — Burkina Faso and Swaziland.
Coming on the heels of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s phone conversation with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in early December, it may be tempting to regard the switch in diplomatic recognition—and after years of “diplomatic truce” Beijing’s willingness to “steal” a diplomatic ally of Taiwan—as retribution by China. [FULL STORY]