Nigeria has shut down Taiwan’s trade mission in the capital Abuja and moved it to Lagos, its commercial center. According to China state media, Xinhua News Agency, Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, announced the move on Wednesday after meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. Onyeama said Taiwan would stop enjoying certain diplomatic privileges because it wasn’t a country recognized under international law. The report also said Nigeria had reaffirmed its commitment to the “One-China” policy.
The announcement comes after the Chinese Foreign Minister announced that his country plans to commit $40 billion to infrastructure funding in Nigeria. Yi revealed that the proposed investment was in addition to another $22 billion in completed projects and $23 billion ongoing projects within Nigeria.
Yi stressed the need for Nigeria and China to deepen their strategic partnership for the mutual benefit of both countries.
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“In order to achieve further development and prosperity of the two countries, we need to strengthen our political mutual trust, further expand practical cooperation, and deepen our strategic partnership.”
As expected, Taiwan has condemned Nigeria’s decision to move its trade mission out of Abuja, slamming it as another display of “dollar diplomacy,” in which China uses its growing economic strength to garner diplomatic allies on the international scene.
Taiwan’s foreign ministry in a statement on Thursday said, “The foreign ministry strongly protests and condemns the unreasonable, rude, and outrageous act of political hype carried out by the Nigerian government in complying with mainland China’s political goals.”
China, meanwhile, has applauded Nigeria’s commitment to the “One-China” policy. A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing said on Thursday that “Nigeria has made a correct political judgment.”
The “One-China” principle is a Chinese foreign relations policy that regards Taiwan as an integral part of one big united China. China and its foreign allies consider Taiwan as a breakaway province and don’t recognize its sovereignty as an independent nation.
Worldwide, only 21 countries maintain official ties with Taiwan, and of that number, only two – Swaziland and Burkina Faso – are in Africa. Last month, the African island nation of Sao Tome broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan, while Malawi also severed ties much earlier in 2006.