Posted: Sunday, December 12, 2021. 8:20 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Barbados’ move toward becoming a republic has been questioned by a columnist in the Sunday Times, which suggested that Barbados dropped The Queen as head of state and became a republic at China’s behest.
Discussing the tug-of-war between China and Taiwan, the Jamaica Observer notes that China’s influence has been steadily increasing in the Caribbean and looks to be increasing further, with the surprising advice of former United States President Barack Obama to deal with those giving them the “biggest bang for their buck.” As he told young people at a town hall on the University of the West Indies Mona campus in April 2015, the US encouraged Chinese investments around the world, but with one stipulation — the deals needed to benefit the people of those countries.
But as seen this week with the switch by Nicaragua to China from Taiwan, it is one or the other – Beijing insists it is the true China and Taiwan a rogue province that must return to it.
The “One China” policy has dropped the number of countries recognizing Taiwan to 13 plus the Vatican from 24 in the last decade, with defections from Costa Rica, Panama, the Dominican Republic and others.
Hold-outs like Belize, St Kitts, Guatemala, and St Vincent and the Grenadines have stuck with Taiwan, extracting more aid each year. The Republic of Haiti recognized Taiwan in 1956 but Taiwan has had to increase its aid to head off a switch to China. It was alleged that Taiwan offered US$150 million for rural electrification in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake after Haiti “threatened to end diplomatic relations”.
Some countries have switched more than once. St Lucia, for example, dropped Taiwan in 1997 when it switched to China. However, in 2007, St Lucia and Taiwan resumed diplomatic relations. The Observer alleges that Belize had ties with the PRC until 1989 when then-Prime Minister Rt Hon George Price switched back to Taiwan, allegedly to obtain US$10 million in concessionary loans.
And Nicaragua first defected from Taiwan to China in 1985 under Daniel Ortega; switched back in 1990 under Violeta Chamorro, and has now switched back after maintaining ties since Ortega returned to office, as his rule becomes increasingly more authoritarian.
The Observer concludes that for Taiwan to keep its remaining allies, like Honduras which has threatened a switch, it must offer more than Beijing can.
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