Taiwan authorities daydream about allies' unconditional loyalty

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/1/26 13:56:50

Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Alpha Barry recently said to the media, "We get outrageous proposals telling us, 'If you sign with Beijing, we'll offer you $50 billion or even more.' " He then explained that he refused the offer because "Taiwan is our friend and our partner. We're happy and we see no reason to reconsider the relationship." 

Any rational thinking person would believe that Burkina Faso's foreign minister was saying "nothing short of ludicrous." Burkina Faso is listed as one of the 10 Least Developed Countries in the world, according to the United Nations. The landlocked country in western Africa has a small population of 17 million, and a backward economy of $11.2 billion GDP a year. 

However, such "insane banter" has pleased Taiwan's " Ministry of Foreign  Affairs", as they are still grappling with the recent loss of "diplomatic ties" with other African countries such as Sao Tome and Principe. In response to Taiwan's reaffirmed ties with Burkina Faso and Swaziland, a spokeswoman responded, "Our relations are concrete". A DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) "legislator" also stated in his Facebook, "It is fortunate that certain values and friends are not for sale."

The relationship between Burkina Faso and Taiwan has always been fully sustained with money. The country first established "diplomatic" ties with Taiwan in 1961, but later severed it in 1973. After it formed a diplomatic relationship with Beijing, Taiwan repurchased its "diplomatic" ties with the African country. As a recent example of the nature of their relationship, a Taiwanese "diplomat" promised Burkina Faso a 44 million euro ($47.33 million) aid over the next couple of years during his visit to the country last September.

Beijing is not interested in utilizing monetary inducements to strengthen its roster of diplomatic relationships, a strategy obviously favored by Taiwan. Beijing's appeal is so powerful that every rational nation with a strategic vision simply wants to maintain its diplomatic ties with Beijing. This type of powerful appeal cannot realistically be replaced with monetary promises made by Taiwan. Most of the remaining 21 "diplomatic allies" are eager to develop relationships with Beijing. In fact, the allure is so great that Beijing could attract all of Taiwan's remaining "diplomatic allies" without spending a penny. It is the primary reason that Taiwan's administration remains in panic mode.

Although Taiwan will always be able to maintain a few "diplomatic allies" by spending more money, its real threat lies within the realm of its "diplomatic allies" that may one day voluntarily seek comfort in the arms of Beijing, regardless of any monetary promises from Taiwan. These countries, most barely noticeable in the world map, are essential to Taiwan's "diplomacy", and yet dispensable to Beijing. Even if Beijing decides to teach Taiwan a lesson, buying out their diplomatic relationships is hardly an option.

Burkina Faso's foreign minister mentioned the "$50 billion" for underlying reasons that will soon surface. He is probably campaigning and gearing up to ask Taiwan for more money, a scenario that could play out along the lines of, "Look, Beijing offered us $50 billion. How much are you willing to propose, Taiwan? " Taiwan's leader, Tsai Ing-wen, chose to deny the 1992 Consensus, a decision that has led to soaring prices for Taiwan's "diplomatic" ties.

Those countries that have yet to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing have increasingly felt unconventional in the world. This explains why they willingly pursue diplomatic ties with Beijing, including Vatican that has not established diplomatic relations with Beijing for special reasons. All other countries that remain Taiwan's "diplomatic allies" have only done so for simple and convenient reasons based on money.

Chinese mainland has risen to be a superpower on the world stage. Monetary inducements are unlikely to offset any strategic value attached to having diplomatic ties with Beijing. Beijing always has plenty of bargaining chips on the table.

Taiwan is going to need more money if it wants to continue with its current strategy of "diplomacy." It is very likely that another one of its "diplomatic allies" will soon bring it the news of a $100 billion offer from Beijing. After all, denying the 1992 Consensus is an expensive game that can have less than enjoyable consequences.

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