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Practicality to inform future of St. Vincent-Taiwan ties – Gonsalves

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, flanked by his wife Eloise Gonsalves, left, and Press Secretary Hans King, addresses Vincentians in Taiwan on Saturday. Gonsalves said that practicality will inform the future of Kingstown-Taipei relations should Taipei and Beijing resolve their differences.

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Practicality will inform the decision of the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) regarding its relations with China and Taiwan should the two sides resolve their differences.

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou, who was inaugurated into a second term on Sunday, has over the past four years improved relations with China, which considers Taiwan a renegade province.

“… in so far as the question of Taiwan and mainland China [is concerned], when it is resolved, in whatever way it is resolved, we are also practical people and we make whatever decisions have to be made as we go along,” Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told Vincentians in Taiwan on Saturday.

He was speaking one day before attending Ma’s inauguration.

“As you would notice, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is committed with its relations with government and people of Taiwan. It is a simple, straightforward matter,” Gonsalves said.

“We have relations with mainland China,” he further stated, adding that mainland Chinese firms have won bids to build school in SVG.

“They can bid. … They are non-borrowing member of the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank). All of us belong to the World Trade Organisation. They come to St. Vincent; they trade,” he said.

“The issue of international relations is a many sided and complicated business. It is not an either or issue,” Gonsalves further stated.

The warmer Taipei-Beijing ties have led to a suspension of the diplomatic war between both capitals.

Media reports say that both capitals have each rejected allies from the other that tried to switch diplomatic ties since Ma came to office on May 20, 2008.

Ma, in his inaugural address Sunday, said his Kuomintang government has “improved cross-strait relations and reduced cross-strait tension”.

He said the second leg of Taiwan’s national security is “the use of viable diplomacy to establish more breathing space for ourselves in the international community and boost our contributions to international society.

“Over the past four years, rather than adopting ‘scorched earth diplomacy,’ we have chosen ‘viable diplomacy’ and ‘above-board diplomacy,’ providing aid in accordance with the principles of ‘seeking proper goals, acting lawfully, and exercising effective administration,’” he further stated.

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