Taipei--Taiwan's government on Monday denied accusations that it is engaging in "dollar diplomacy" by offering financial assistance not tied to any specific projects to its diplomatic allies.
Presidential Office spokesman Sidney Lin (???) said the government routinely provides foreign aid, and all foreign cooperation programs are carried out in a rigid, transparent and open manner in accordance with the International Cooperation and Development Act, based on allies' economic development needs.
He stressed that the foreign aid programs are long-established, and other countries also have similar programs.
"The so-called 'dollar diplomacy' accusation is untrue and is also unfair to the diplomats on the front line," he said.
But neither Lin nor Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Eleanor Wang (???) would confirm the amount of the alleged aid or what its purpose was.
According to several reports in Belizean media, Foreign Minister David Lee (???) signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with Belize during a visit to the Central American country at the end of last week in which Taiwan promised to provide US$60 million to Belize over a four-year period.
Of that amount, US$20 million is to be treated as a grant and the remaining US$40 million as a loan, according to some reports, which characterized the trip as a bid by Taiwan to shore up ties with Belize after Panama switched its allegiance to Beijing six weeks ago.
Apple Daily on Monday cited the reports and alleged that the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (???) has renewed "dollar diplomacy" by offering a monetary grant to Belize.
Declining to confirm the report, Wang said the government will not make public the amounts of aid provided to foreign countries based on respect for the recipients.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel