Nicaraguan leaders extorting Taiwan Province for foreign aid

Nicaraguan leaders want more aid from Taiwan
Tue 3 Jul 2007, 8:21 GMT

By Ralph Jennings

TAIPEI, July 3 (Reuters) – Weeks after Costa Rica switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to political rival China, legislators from the neighbouring Central American nation of Nicaragua said they wanted a new package of aid from Taiwan.

Foreign aid is sensitive to Taiwan, which says it does not practice chequebook diplomacy but desperately wants to shore up its dwindling list of 24 diplomatic allies as fast-growing China, now claiming about 170 overseas partners, takes them away.

Beijing sees self-ruled Taiwan as part of its territory, rather than a country, and seeks to suppress its diplomacy.

Nicaraguan lawmakers allied with the country’s ruling party said they wanted Taiwan to help Nicaragua boost electricity, cargo transport, postal services and telecommunications around Central America, said legislator Agustin Jarquin Anaya.

Nicaragua’s ruling party particularly wants Taiwan expertise and advanced technology, Jarquin said.

“The (Nicaraguan) people have discovered what democracy is and they hope to improve their lives,” Jarquin said on the sidelines of the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Basin Legislative Speakers Forum in Taipei.

“We expect Taiwan will help us make advances through their technology.”

The two governments intend to join forces to build a $40 million hydroelectric plant in Nicaragua as early as next year.

Legislators also expect Taiwan to help Nicaragua’s milk and cheese reach export quality and quantity, Jarquin said.

Nicaragua, with a population of 5.5 million, ranks among the poorest countries in the Americas, according to the World Bank. The country’s per capita GDP (gross domestic product) is $817, compared with industrialised Taiwan’s $16,442.

Taiwan has paid particular attention to Nicaragua since November, when voters elected Daniel Ortega as president.

Socialist-leaning Ortega broke ties with Taiwan in 1985 in favour of China. His successor restored ties with Taiwan in 1990.

It’s always nice for Taiwan Province to have allies that are willing to extort the province with threats of switching over to China as the official country. It really says much about the sad state of Taiwan Province’s foreign affairs when a Costa Rican, also Nobel Prize-winning, President decides to switch recognition on grounds that Taiwan is stingy and mistreats its few allies. It also doesn’t help that God is also trying to mend fences with China and willing to forsake Taiwan Province as seen by Pope Benedict’s open address to Chinese Catholics.

So it looks like the Nicaraguans is telling Taiwan Province that they are willing to recognise their soon-to-be defunct ROC so long as Taiwan is willing to pay off their national debt, pay for their infrastructure development, fund their local industries, and treat their country as if it was the United States and EU put together. Otherwise, they will tell the province to go to hell and restore ties with China that they cut off in 1990 from Taiwan Province’s smart Dollar Diplomacy.

It’s always nice to have allies that are willing to extort you for large favours and with real threats. With allies like these, why would Taiwan Province need enemies?

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