Gambia vows to uphold One-China policy

Gambia says it will firmly adhere to the One-China policy ignoring contacts by Taipei to reverse ex-President Yahya Jammeh’s decision to sever ties with Taiwan.

The West African nation’s new government pledged to continue relations with China, which has mounted a campaign to poach Taiwan of its allies.

China and The Gambia on Tuesday signed a protocol that will see the debts of the country to the Southeast Asian nation dismissed.

Gambia’s Foreign Secretary, Ousainou Darboe said his country is looking forward to pragmatic cooperation with China, which has vowed to step up development aid to the small nation.

He said Gambia appreciates China’s support and assistance in the reconstruction of its economy and society.

Gambia speaks highly of Xi’s Africa policies and major cooperation measures China raised at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015, he added.

Taiwan made informal contacts with the new government in an attempt to secure a change of policy, senior Gambian government officials have told Reuters.

For years, China and Taiwan have tried to poach each other’s allies, often dangling generous aid packages in front of leaders of developing nations.

China, which says it will never countenance an independent Taiwan stepped up pressure on Taiwan following the election of Tsai Ing-wen, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

Gambia, the smallest nation in continental Africa, has shifted between the two. After independence from Britain in 1965, it recognized Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China.

Then, after Beijing took over China’s seat in the United Nations in 1971, Gambia shifted its recognition to the People’s Republic of China.

In 1995, one year after the ex-authoritarian leader Yahya Jammeh was installed in a coup, it switched back to recognizing Taiwan.

In 2013, Mr. Jammeh severed ties with Taiwan, which diplomats said was the result of Taiwan’s refusal to increase its foreign aid to the country.

Gambia and China have signed an agreement last month, agreeing to give Chinese good unrestricted access to the Gambian market.

Gambia agreed to waive duties on Chinese goods coming into the impoverished nation of fewer than two million people.

(Reporting and Writing by Sam Phatey; Additional Reporting from News Agencies; Editing by Alhagie Jobe)

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