China’s President Xi Jinping is has underscored that the Gambia should no longer attempt a Jammeh-style play to switch between the mainland and Taiwan, a year after resuming ties.
Mr. Jinping is making it clear that bracing and sticking to the one-China principle is the cornerstone of Gambia’s relations with Beijing, making it apparent it is the principal rule for cooperation and for Banjul to receive benefits.
“Upholding the one-China principle and the big picture of bilateral friendship, China and Gambia should understand and support each other on issues relating to core interests and major concerns, and be sincere friends and partners on an equal footing,” said Xi Jinping.
President Jinping reminded President Barrow that the decision by former President Yahya Jammeh to break ties with Taiwan is a “corrective choice” and said so far, relations have yield tangible cooperation results.
China said it will have exchanges in culture, education, media, youth, women, health, and tourism with The Gambia and has pledged to resolve Gambia’s agriculture, electricity, and infrastructure crisis.
“China is willing to increase cooperation with the Gambia in security and to step up communication and coordination in international and regional affairs to contribute to peace and stability in West Africa,” Jinping said.
“China’s cooperation with foreign countries is not attached to any political string. The essence of China-Africa cooperation is to combine China’s development with that of Africa to realize win-win cooperation and mutual development.”
Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh broke ties with China, choosing Taiwan that conducted a checkbook diplomacy with his military regime, shortly after he came to power in a 1994 coup.
The Gambia 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 2013, Mr. Jammeh severed ties with Taiwan, which diplomats said was the result of Taiwan’s refusal to increase its foreign aid to his country.
President Adama Barrow, who defeated Jammeh in last year’s elections upheld the one-China principle during his maiden UN address saying: “We fully recognize the one-China policy. The People’s Republic of China is the sole representative of the Chinese people and a true friend of The Gambia.”
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 has stepped up pressure on Taiwan following the election of Tsai Ing-wen, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, as president last year. China says it will never countenance an independent Taiwan.