Govt will not establish diplomatic ties with Taipei but Private Sector can do business – Todd
…agreement for Taiwan Office in Guyana terminated after miscommunication
Against the background of conflicting reports of Taiwan establishing an office here, the Guyana Government on Thursday announced that it has terminated the agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in a statement, said Government has noted various media releases on the matter of a Taiwan Office in Guyana and, as such, sought to clear that it did not establish any diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
In fact, it was noted that there was a miscommunication regarding the agreement signed.
“The Government has not established any diplomatic ties or relations with Taiwan, and as a result of the miscommunication of the agreement signed, this agreement has since been terminated,” the Ministry said.
When contacted on Thursday, Foreign Affairs Minister Hugh Todd told Guyana Times that there was too much miscommunication and misinterpretation, both here and in the international environment surrounding the issue.
“We don’t plan to have diplomatic ties in the future. At least that is not something that’s being discussed,” he insisted.
According to Minister Todd, while there will be no formal establishment of diplomatic ties, the Guyanese Private Sector is free to conduct business with Taipei.
Questioned whether Government would be inclined to allowing Taiwan to establish an investment office here in the future, the Foreign Affairs Minister said, “The Taiwanese are free to do business with the private sector. What was confusing is that apparently some quarters thought that we were establishing diplomatic ties with Taipei, which is not the case… They can go ahead and have an office [here] to do investment, but private sector-wise.”
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday said the country had signed an agreement with the Guyana Government on January 11, 2021 to set up in Guyana an office that focuses on cooperation in areas like agriculture, education and trade.
The news of the establishment of a Taiwanese office in Guyana was first disclosed by the United States Embassy in Guyana on Wednesday.
“The United States applauds the agreement to establish a Taiwan Office in Guyana. Deepening ties between Guyana and Taiwan will advance their shared goals of prosperity and security. Closer ties with Taiwan will advance cooperation and development in Guyana on the basis of shared democratic values, transparency, and mutual respect,” the embassy said in a statement.
But Minister Todd subsequently confirmed to media entities that it is actually an investment office that Taiwan would be setting up in Guyana. He has assured that there will be no bilateral diplomatic relations between Guyana and Taiwan, which China – one of Guyana’s major bilateral partner – claims as its sovereign territory.
However, the reports of the Taiwanese Office in Guyana had triggered a number of concerns about Guyana’s foreign policy and its relations with the People’s Republic of China and, by extension, the “One China Policy”.
In fact, according to international reports, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing hopes Guyana would not engage in any official ties with Taiwan, and called on the country to “earnestly take steps to correct their mistake”.
Guyana traditionally has close ties with China and supports the “One China Policy”, which does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state.
In a Reuters report, Minister Todd is quoted as saying “Guyana is not recognising Taiwan as an independent state. Guyana is not establishing diplomatic relations with Taipei.”
Moreover, the Foreign Ministry’s termination statement on Thursday added, “The Government of Guyana wishes to clarify that it continues to adhere to the One China policy, and its diplomatic relations remain intact with the People’s Republic of China.”