Taiwan severs relations with Costa Rica

Taipei, June 7:

Taiwan angrily severed diplomatic ties with Costa Rica today and accused Beijing of using ‘chequebook diplomacy’ to lure its allies after the Central American state said it had established relations with China.

Taipei’s move came shortly after Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced that it

was the right time to establish diplomatic relations with Beijing, saying that “China is

a reality that we can no longer ignore.”

“We deeply regret that Costa Rica has recognised China and we will immediately end our ties with Costa Rica and terminate all cooperation programmes,” Foreign Minister James Huang told reporters. He said Beijing should take full responsibility if the diplomatic dispute led to a deterioration in ties across the Taiwan Strait.

“The People’s Republic of China has been doing its utmost to suppress Taiwan in the international society, which ... seriously hurts the feelings of Taiwanese people,” Huang said.

Huang accused Arias, a Nobel peace prize winner in 1987, of ditching Taipei in favour of an authoritarian Beijing.

“Since taking office in May 2006, President Arias has ignored the shared values and long-term friendship between our two countries to conduct multiple negotiations with China,” he said.

President Chen Shui-bian rejected Huang’s offer to resign to take responsibility, saying the foreign ministry had tried its best to maintain ties.

Chen accused Beijing of resorting to “dollar diplomacy” against Taipei and said the latest diplomatic battle demonstrated Beijing’s persistent efforts to isolate Taiwan in the international community.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war and their leaders have since vied for international recognition as the legitimate government.