Foreign Minister Wang Yi greets his Gambian counterpart Neneh Macdouall-Gaye at a signing ceremony in Beijing on March 17, 2016. [Photo by Zou Hong / China Daily]
China has resumed diplomatic ties with Gambia, the West African country that cut “diplomatic” relations with Taiwan in 2013.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his visiting Gambian counterpart Neneh Macdouall-Gaye signed a joint statement on March 17 to resume diplomatic ties at ambassadorial level.
“Gambia recognizes the importance and reality of the one-China policy, national reunification and peaceful reunification,” Macdouall-Gaye said at a joint news conference with Wang.
Wang said upholding the one-China principle is the prerequisite and political foundation for China’s diplomatic relationship with any country.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular news briefing on March 17 that the resumption of ties is “not targeted at any other side”.
He said there is no change in China’s policy on pushing forward relations across the Taiwan Straits.
China formed diplomatic ties with Gambia in 1974. But in 1995, Gambia cut these ties and shifted to Taipei.
However, in late 2013 it said it would cut “diplomatic” ties with Taiwan. A statement from the president’s office said the decision was based on national strategic considerations. China said after learning of the decision that it had not contacted Gambia beforehand.
Wang said on March 17 that the resumption of ties follows the trend of the times and is in line with the interests of the two countries and their peoples.
He said both countries will explore cooperation in areas such as agriculture, investment, and trade and infrastructure.
Liu Youfa, former vice-president of the China Institute of International Relations, said the resumption of ties has been “pushed by the interests of both sides”.
Liu saw no apparent link between the move and Taiwan leader-elect Tsai Ing-wen, of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, taking office on May 20.
The past eight years, during which Ma Ying-jeou has served as the island’s leader, have been marked by smooth exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan, with neither side engaged in a tug-of-war for diplomatic recognition.