25 and Counting (Down)
China and Taiwan do not keep diplomatic relations with states that recognize the other country. And with the growing importance of China's economy, countries are dumping Taiwan for China. The remaining 25 countries that recognize Taiwan are mostly small Latin American, African and Pacific nations attracted partly with pledges of investment or aid.
The BBC reports that Senegal is the sixth country to change over to China since President Chen took office. That is roughly one per year. It seems that slowly, but surely China is buying away all of Taiwan's allies. Mind you, this is not intended as a criticism of China. Taiwan is also buying many of its friends. The whole situation is one ongoing auction.
In light of the situation, diplomatic experts are offering Taiwan free advice. The consensus seems to be:
- "If Taiwan wants to build their case for independence, then cutting ties with a country that recognizes the PRC is the last thing that they should be doing! All it does it reinforce the absurd one China policy. Instead, they should be encouraging dual recognition starting at these low levels before they take their case to the UN." (MutantFrog)
- "reorient [Taiwan's] foreign policy away from an emphasis on the number of countries that recognize it and the treatment received by its leaders overseas and toward demonstrating to the international community it is a good global and regional citizen." (Former State Dept. Official)