The west African Nation of Burkina Faso formally resumed diplomatic ties with China on Saturday after breaking off relations with Taiwan, which now has just 18 diplomatic allies.
Burkina Faso‘s decision was the latest blow to Taiwan, a self-governing democracy that Beijing claims as its own territory and has been seeking to isolate on the global stage.
Earlier this month, the Dominican Republic established diplomatic relations with China and severed ties with Taiwan.
A document establishing diplomatic ties was signed Saturday in Beijing between Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Burkina Faso‘s foreign minister, Alpha Barry.
The move leaves Taiwan with just one remaining African ally, Swaziland, and Wang appeared to indicate the small nation in the continent‘s south was being actively courted by Beijing.
“Now Africa has only one country with which we have not yet established” diplomatic relations, Wang said. “We hope this country can join the big China-Africa family of friendship as soon as possible.”
On Friday, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen tweeted that “China‘s growing pressure will only strengthen other countries‘ support for us.”
She added defiantly, “We will never back down.”
Taiwan has previously condemned what it called China‘s “dollar diplomacy” campaign of luring away Taiwan‘s allies with promises of vast financial aid and investment.
Tsai has angered Beijing by refusing to endorse its “one-China principle” designating the island as a part of China.
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