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Taiwan’s Snub: China Pledges $40bn Investment

Teddy Nwanunobi, Abuja (with agency reports)

Nigeria has begun to reap the rewards of snubbing Taiwan, as the Chinese government has disclosed that it will invest the sum of $40 billion in Nigerian infrastructure projects.

This was the aftermath of the visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister to Nigeria on Wednesday during which his government pledged to invest $40 billion into infrastructure in Africa’s most populous country.

Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, dropped the news by phone to Bloomberg from Abuja Thursday, without giving further details.

The West African country had earlier ordered Taiwan to move its trade mission from the capital, Abuja, to the commercial hub, Lagos, following a visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister during which the Chinese government made the pledge.

Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, announced the move Wednesday, after meeting with Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi.

Onyeama said that Taiwan would stop enjoying privileges because it was not a country recognised under international law.

During the talks, Onyeama also reaffirmed his Nigeria’s commitment to the“One-China” policy.

“The Foreign Ministry strongly protests and condemns the unreasonable, rude and outrageous act of political hype carried out by the Nigerian government in complying with mainland China’s political goals,” Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday.

“Nigeria has made a correct political judgment,” China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said.

The West African nation has “promised not to have any official dealings with Taiwan,” Lu said.

China has shown a willingness to use its growing economic and military might to put pressure on Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which swept the more Beijing-friendly Kuomintang from power last year.

The move comes less than a month after the tiny West African islandnation of Sao Tome and Principe broke off ties with Taiwan and established formal relations with China, leaving the self-ruled island with just 21 diplomatic partners.

The Communist Party considers the self-governed island a province andhas criticised President Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to accept that bothsides belong to “One China,” its precondition for ties.

China hadrefrained from actively wooing away any of Taiwan’s diplomatic partners during the eight-year tenure of Tsai’s predecessor, MaYing-jeou, who advocated increased ties with the world’ssecond-largest economy.

Dwindling FriendsTsai is wrapping up a week-long Central American tour, in which shehas been shoring up relations with her dwindling roster of diplomaticfriends.

The Nigerian move suggests she also might need to beconcerned about Taiwan’s business interests in countries that lackformal ties to Taipei.

Earlier this month, South Africas’ government rebuked the mayor of a municipal area, including its capital city, Pretoria, for visiting Taiwan, saying the trip contravened its “One China” policy.

The mayor, Solly Msimanga, is a member of the opposition Democratic Alliance.

Nigeria has been seeking Chinese support, after a slump in oil prices pushed the African nation to the brink of its first full-year recession since 1991.

The two countries have been discussing various deals spanning oil production to infrastructure, with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari returning from a visit to Beijing in April with promises for $6 billion in loans.

“This administration is very serious about infrastructural development. We want rail, road, power, skill acquisition for ourpeople,” Buhari said in a Wednesday statement.

“We will keep our sideof the bargain in all the agreements we have signed.”

Wang told Buhari on Wednesday that China “appreciates that the Nigerian side made good on its pledge to implement the One-China principle, and carried out concrete and decisive measures to clearpolitical obstacles to the development of bilateral relations.”

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