BEIJING, March 17 (Xinhua) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Gambian counterpart Neneh MacDouall-Gaye signed a joint communique here Thursday to resume diplomatic relations.
“The Peoples Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, acting in conformity with the interests and desires of the two peoples, desirous of promoting and strengthening ties of friendly relations and cooperation between the two states for the mutual benefit of their peoples in accordance with the principles and purposes of the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law, have agreed and decided to resume diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level as of the date of the signing of this Joint Communique,” the communique says.
The two countries also agreed to exchange ambassadors and, in accordance with the provisions of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, provide necessary assistance for the establishment of embassies and the performance of their respective duties on a reciprocal basis, it says.
According to the communique, the Chinese government supports the Gambian government in its efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and develop the economy.
The Gambian government recognizes that there is only one China in the world and that the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, it says.
The Gambian government undertakes not to establish any official relations or engage in any official contact with Taiwan, it says.
During the talks between the two foreign ministers earlier on Thursday, Wang dubbed the resumption of the diplomatic ties as an “historic moment” for the two nations.
“The Chinese people always hold friendly sentiments for the Gambian people,” said Wang, adding that the resumption of the ambassadorial relations reflects common aspirations and are in the fundamental interests of the two nations.
Wang stressed that the one-China policy is a political precondition and foundation for China to establish and develop diplomatic relations with other countries.
“We believe that the Gambian government will strictly adhere to the one-China policy and support China’s undertakings for peaceful unification,” Wang said.
Wang said China stands ready to enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation and increase people-to-people exchanges with Gambia and will support the African country’s efforts to play a bigger role in international and regional affairs.
The two countries established formal diplomatic links in 1974 but China suspended the relations in 1995 when Gambia resumed the so-called “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan.
Meanwhile, Reuters is also reporting on the story. Below is the Reuters’s piece:
The small West African state was one of a few African countries, along with Burkina Faso, Swaziland and São Tomé and Príncipe, to recognize Taiwan, which China regards as a wayward province to be recovered by force if necessary.
China and Taiwan had for years tried to poach each others allies, often dangling generous aid packages in front of leaders of developing nations.
But they began an unofficial diplomatic truce after signing a series of landmark trade and economic agreements in 2008 after the election of the China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan’s president, as Beijing tried to convince Taiwan of its friendly intentions after decades of hostility and suspicion.
While Gambia severed relations with Taiwan in November 2013, causing anger in Taipei, China had held off establishing formal ties with it until now.
“From here on, China and Gambia’s relations have turned over a new leaf,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Gambian counterpart, Neneh Macdouall-Gaye, China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The early resumption of ties accords with the basic interests of both countries and conforms to the trend of the times and general trend of the development of China-Africa friendship and cooperation,” Wang added.
Macdouall-Gaye, in comments carried on Chinese state television, said the entire Gambian nation supported “the national reunification, peaceful reunification” of China and Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry expressed regret and said it would work to boost cooperation and friendship with its remaining friends.
“Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry and its overseas missions will continue to be vigilant and pay close attention to China’s pressure on the international scene to safeguard our country’s interests,” it said in a statement.
Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said its counterpart in Beijing, the Taiwan Affairs Office, had warned it earlier in the day the announcement was coming.
The news came as President Ma is on a visit to allies Guatemala and Belize.
Beijing has repeatedly warned against any moves toward independence since Tsai Ing-wen and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won the presidential and parliamentary elections. Tsai assumes office in May.
Tsai has said she would maintain peace with China, and Chinese state-run media have noted her pledges to maintain the “status quo” with China.
In a separate question and answer statement, China’s Foreign Ministry did not directly address whether the decision on relations with Gambia was a warning to Tsai or marked the end of the truce.
“We uphold the one-China principle. The direction of promoting the peaceful development of cross-Taiwan Strait has not changed,” it said.
By Ben Blanchard and J.R. Wu