TAIPEI: Nigeria has demanded that Taiwan relocate its trade office following a visit by China’s foreign minister and a promise of $40 billion in investment. Taiwan quickly protested, calling China’s actions “crude.”
During a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday, Nigeria publicly reiterated its support for Beijing’s “One China” policy, which considers the self-governing island part of its territory. Nigeria added that its stance does not preclude trade with Taiwan.
But Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama asked that Taiwan move its trade mission from Abuja, the capital, to the commercial hub of Lagos. Taiwan’s foreign ministry condemned “the Chinese mainland’s unreasonable, arbitrary and crude maneuvers.”
Onyeama said Nigeria was not “pressurized” by China. He called the presence of a Taiwan trade office, despite Nigeria’s longtime diplomatic recognition of China, “an anomaly.”
His comments came at a joint press conference where China’s foreign minister said another $40 billion investment in Nigeria is “in the pipeline,” in addition to more than $40 billion already invested in the West African oil producer.
Both Taiwan and China use aid and investment to lure allies. But Taiwan has become increasingly isolated, recognized by only a few Central American countries and some Caribbean and Pacific island nations.
Taiwan has diplomatic relations with only two African countries, Burkina Faso and Swaziland, since Sao Tome and Principe last month severed ties in exchange for Beijing’s offer of aid and investment.
China is anxious about the incoming U.S. administration of Donald Trump, who spoke by phone with Taiwan’s president last month in which is believed to be the first conversation between a U.S. president or president-elect and a Taiwanese leader since Washington switched recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979.