With just six months to the representative and presidential elections in the country, Mr. Li Zhaung, Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, (PRC) near Monrovia last Friday urged Liberian politicians to be mindful of Taiwan’s preparedness to give out big money to ensure the restoration of diplomatic relations with Liberia against the ‘One China’ policy.
Liberia is part of the 52 African countries that support PRC’s ‘One China’ policy, which says that Taiwan is part of China and therefore others should maintain diplomatic relations with the PRC to represent the interest of the Chinese people.
Speaking on the topic, “One China policy and its impact in Africa” at the Edward Wilmot Blyden Intellectual Forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia in Monrovia, Mr. Li said Liberian politicians need to be cautious of Taiwan’s attempts to use them to exploit the country.
Envoy Li said Taiwanese authorities are prepared to do business with some politicians that may include presidential candidates by providing campaign funds in order to establish or maintain so called “diplomatic relations” when they come to power.
He said Taiwanese authorities may attempt to enlarge their international space by making use of the political situations and economic difficulties in a country through “dollar diplomacy.”
“Their intent is to create trouble for the China-Liberia relations,” Mr. Li noted. “Many Liberians have not yet understood the ‘One China’ policy because they are blinded by the Taiwanese’s surreptitious attempts, which come in the form of gestures.”
He said: “It is possible that some Liberians may not understand the Sinoe-Liberia relations and could therefore tamper with our bilateral relations.”
Envoy Li said China-Liberia relations were hurt twice because of the Taiwan issue and as a result the Liberian people did not benefit from the “so called diplomatic relations with Taiwan.”
He said the People’s Republic of China appreciates the Liberian government’s firm adherence to the ‘One China’ policy and assured Liberians that his government is willing to foster friendly relations with not only the government but all political parties as well.
“We hope that the Liberian people, including political parties, will appreciate and cherish what we have achieved in the past 14 years since our two countries resumed diplomatic relations,” Envoy Li said.
He said for Liberia to adhere to the ‘One China’ policy is in line with the common interests of China and Africa. “Today, 52 African countries adhere to the ‘One China’ policy and we are gratified by the progresses we see in a wide range of China-African collaboration,” he noted.
Li recalled that “in 1971 the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 which was responsible for the expulsion of representatives of the Taiwanese authorities from the world body and restored the seat and all lawful rights of the government of the People’s Republic of China.”
Recounting some other benefits in the China-Liberia diplomatic relations, he said “For the deployment of UNMIL in 2003, China as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, voted in favor of Liberia and consistently supported the peacekeeping operations in Liberia.”
“During the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak, China was the first country to provide assistance to Liberia,” he said. “Our cooperation in security, agriculture, education, healthcare, trade, etc. has made rapid progress and achieved tangible outcomes which are beneficial to the Liberian people.”
Meanwhile, the Managing Editor of the Inquirer Newspaper, Mr. Philip Wesseh, called on Liberian journalists to read and acquire more understanding about the ‘One China’ policy in order to be able to inform the public.
“China has increased her support in recent years to the development of our country and what we see going on around us may carry us to higher heights,” Mr. Wesseh said. “The ‘One China’ policy is intended to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Presently, 174 countries in the world maintain close bilateral relations with the People’s Republic of China and support the ‘One China’ policy.
The ‘One China’ policy is the diplomatic acknowledgement of China’s position that there is only one Chinese government, and China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day, a BBC report stated.
The ‘One China’ policy is also a key cornerstone of China’s relations with the world and is the fundamental bedrock of Chinese policymaking and diplomacy.
Although the Taiwan government claims it is an independent country officially called the “Republic of China,” (ROC) any country that wants diplomatic relations with mainland China (PRC) must break official ties with Taipei. This has resulted in Taiwan’s diplomatic isolation from the international community.
The policy can be traced back to 1949 and the end of the Chinese civil war. The defeated Nationalists, also known as the Kuomintang, retreated to Taiwan and made it their seat of government, while the victorious Communists began ruling the mainland as the People’s Republic of China.
Both sides say they represent all of China.