Sao Tome and Principe prime minister begins first visit to China

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/12 23:08:39

Sao Tome and Principe Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada has begun his official visit to China, the first trip since the country cut "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan in December 2016.

Chinese experts said it serves as a sign for other countries which maintain ties with Taiwan.

During Trovoada's week-long visit to China, he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral ties and issues of common interest, and sign cooperation agreements, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular press conference on April 7.

Aside from Beijing, Trovoada will also visit East China's Fujian Province.

"The development of bilateral ties between China and Sao Tome and Principe sends a message to countries which maintain 'diplomatic ties' with Taiwan," Zhu Songling, a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies of Beijing Union University, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

Many of these countries may be considering severing ties with Taiwan since Taiwan has suffered from an economic downturn, while the Chinese mainland is growing in political and economic influence, Zhu said, adding that "restoring bilateral ties with China could help these countries, most of which are small and undeveloped."

The official website of Taiwan's "Ministry of Foreign Affairs" lists 21 countries with "diplomatic relations" with the island, including six in East Asia and the Pacific, two in Africa, and one in Europe.

Trovoada is the first African head of State to pay an official visit to China this year and also the first leader of Sao Tome and Principe to visit China after the resumption of bilateral ties.

China established diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe in 1975 and the relations were cut off in July 1997 two months after the country announced "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan.

China resumed diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe on December 26, 2016 after the African nation cut "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan island a few days before.

"The China visit will mark a milestone in our bilateral relations, as well as an important step towards the development of Sao Tome and Principe, especially in infrastructure," Trovoada was quoted by Lusa, a Portuguese news agency, as saying before Trovoada's visit to China.



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