Ties with eSwatini remain strong: foreign minister

Taipei, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (???) stressed Wednesday that the country's ties with eSwatini, its only African diplomatic ally, remain strong and stable, rebutting a top Chinese diplomat's statement earlier in the day that Beijing expects the country to change allegiance soon.

Calling the idea that eSwatini could switch recognition in the near future a "phony issue," Wu told reporters in Taipei that he attended a luncheon with eSwatini Foreign Minister Mgwagwa Gamedze earlier in the day, during which they engaged in in-depth discussions on how to further strengthen bilateral relations.

Gamedze is visiting Taiwan to meet with local officials to promote ties, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Beijing, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong (???) said that eSwatini does not have relations with China "for reasons that everyone knows," according to a Reuters report.

"We look forward to and hope that all African nations, with none left behind, can take part in positive China-Africa cooperation, and become a member of the largest family get-together," the report quoted Chen as saying.

"I believe that this is not just the pursuit of China, it is also a widespread shared expectation of African nations. I believe that this target can in the not too distant future be realized," he added, without elaborating, the report said.

Taiwan lost El Salvador Tuesday, the fifth diplomatic ally it has lost to Beijing over the past two-and-a-half years since President Tsai Ing-wen (???) of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office in May 2016.

Cross-Taiwan Strait relations have remained strained since the DPP's refusal to recognize the so-called "1992 consensus" has reduced Beijing's willingness to engage with Tsai's administration.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding between the two sides of Taiwan Strait in 1992, when Taiwan was under the rule of Kuomintang (KMT), that both sides acknowledge there is only one China with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.

eSwatini is Taiwan's last diplomatic ally in Africa after Burkina Faso switched recognition to China May 24.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel