Guyana ditches Taiwan office plan after China slams ‘mistake’

Beijing, Feb 5 (efe-epa).- Guyana has rescinded an agreement with Taiwan to open a representative office in the South American country after China asked the Guyanese authorities to “correct their mistake.”

Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation announced its decision in a statement posted to its website overnight Beijing time.

“The government has not established any diplomatic ties or relations with Taiwan and as a result of the miscommunication of the agreement signed, this agreement has since been terminated,” it said.

It added that the government “wishes to clarify that it continues to adhere to the One China policy and its diplomatic relations remain intact with the People’s Republic of China.”

Under the One China principle, the sovereignty of Taiwan is not recognized other than as part of China. China does not allow its diplomatic partners to also maintain official ties with Taiwan.

The statement came after Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin asked Thursday that Georgetown authorities “correct their mistake” regarding the opening of the office.

Earlier that day, Taipei had announced the opening of the office in Guyana, after their respective foreign ministries reached an agreement on Jan. 11.

The Taiwan foreign ministry said that the office began its operations provisionally four days after the agreement was signed and on Twitter added that the new office “represents the commitment of both sides to promoting a partnership of prosperity based on democratic values across areas like agriculture, education, investment & trade.”

The now-deleted message also thanked the Guyanese foreign ministry for its friendship and support, although Georgetown does not maintain diplomatic relations with Taipei, but has done with Beijing since 1972.

Taipei maintains diplomatic relations with 15 countries: Eswatini in Africa; Belize, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Paraguay, Nicaragua, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in the Americas; the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and Tuvalu in Oceania; and the Holy See.

Taiwan has been governed autonomously since 1949, although China claims sovereignty over the island, which it considers a rebel province. EFE-EPA


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