Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama Nigerian Authorities say the country would no longer recognise Taiwan as a country. The Country has rather pledged support for ‘One China’. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, stated this while answering questions after a joint news conference with the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja. Onyeama said Nigeria had withdrawn all diplomatic relations with Taiwan as a country, adding that Taiwanese office in Abuja would be shut down and be relocated to Lagos. According to him, Nigeria has communicated to Taiwan and they are moving to Lagos as soon as possible. However, Taiwan on Thursday objected to the request to relocate its representative office. Taiwan sees the request as more pressure by China to isolate it. Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and to be taken back by force if necessary, especially if it makes moves toward independence. Taiwan has no diplomatic ties with Nigeria, but has an office for handling business affairs in Abuja. Onyeama says “Taiwan will stop enjoying any privileges because it is not a country that is recognised under international law and under the position we have taken internationally we recognise the people of China. “Taiwan will not have any diplomatic representation in Nigeria and also they will be moving to Lagos to the extent that they function as a trade mission with a skeletal staff. “Chinese Government does not oppose trading with Taiwan as long as there is no formal contact with the Government that will suggest recognition of Taiwan as sovereign country,” he said. According to him, China does not oppose relationship with Taiwan in the level of trade but not on government to government level. The minister, however, said that Nigeria was not pressurised to take the decision, noting that the development was a bit of anormally on the side of Nigeria He said Nigeria recognised the People’s Republic of China as country because Nigeria was one the leading African nations that fought for China to reclaim its seat at the UN Security Council from Taiwan. He said the step being taken was to right the wrong that one could not specifically say how it came. “It was not very clear how it got into Nigeria system – an arrangement for the Taiwan for a trade mission. “And in grating the right of the trade mission it did not accurately reflect the nature of relationship between Nigeria and Taiwan,” he said. Onyeama said the country took the decision to remove any iota of doubt in the mind of the Chinese people. He said on the issue of building trust, the international community had embraced one China and China is a member of the United Nations and we don’t want to leave any doubt on the issue. The minister stressed that Nigeria would adhere to it completely and there is no ambiguity at all. He said Nigeria as a nation would do everything to realise the One China Policy as well as any effort that would promote the peace and well being of the People’s Republic of China. According to Onyeama, China is one of the countries that have been in full support of reforms in the UN that would see Africa having two seats at the UN Security Council, as such deserved to be supported in her unification drive of One China. Taiwan has called on Nigeria to consider the issue as both sides have an understanding based on reciprocity, under which Nigeria runs a trade office in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei. “The foreign ministry urges Nigeria to leave room for discussion,” Taiwan’s ministry said in a statement, referring to the request to move the trade office. “The foreign ministry seriously objects and condemns the unreasonable actions by the Nigerian government,” it said. Taiwan has 21 formal allies, only two in Africa. Last month, former African ally Sao Tome switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China. In countries with which Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relations it often sets up trade and commerce offices, in capitals and major cities. While economic ties between the mainland and Taiwan have grown considerably in recent years, their relations have worsened since Tsai Ing-wen, who heads a pro-independence party, was elected president of the island last year. Beijing has been stepping up pressure on her to concede to its “one China” principle.
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