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Chad Cuts Diplomatic Ties with Taiwan
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The central African country of Chad is reported to have severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan, and switch its recognition and open official ties with China, the reported.


"Under Beijing's influence, Chad has decided to restore diplomatic ties with China," Taiwan's "foreign ministry" spokesman Michel Lu told a press conference Saturday night.


"To safeguard our dignity, Taiwan government has decided to cut off diplomatic ties with Chad and immediately suspended all of the aid projects to the country," Lu said.


Taiwan's "ambassador" to Chad was called into the foreign ministry in N'Djamena Saturday and informed that the government had decided to switch recognition "in the interest of the state," a Chadian foreign ministry official said.


Official announcements of the move should be made simultaneously Sunday in N'Djamena and Beijing, where Chadian Foreign Minister Ahmat Allami is currently visiting.


Following Taiwan's 1971 expulsion from the United Nations, successive Taiwanese regimes have spent millions of dollars in economic aid to persuade countries, mostly in Africa and Latin America, to support its battle against Beijing for international recognition.


As Beijing's global political and economic clout has grown, Taiwan has found it increasingly on the losing side of the diplomatic battle.


Chad is the seventh country to switch recognition to Beijing since Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian took office in 2000, following Senegal, Liberia, Macedonia, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Vanuatu and Grenada.


This latest setback for Taiwan means the island is now recognized by just 24 countries, mostly small states in Africa, Latin America and the Pacific.


Chad's move came only days before Taiwan "Premier" Su Tseng-chang was due to attend the inauguration of Idriss Deby for a third term as president. The trip has now been cancelled.


(China Daily August 6, 2006)


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