I've been traveling in Sabah and was reminded of how wild things are down there by the sobering news of Taiwanese tourists killed on a small island off the lovely east coast. But that news was overshadowed by the big news that The Gambia has cut ties with the ROC. WSJ reports:
Taiwan said Friday that it felt "shock and regret" from the announcement, and believed Gambia's president Yahya Jammeh made the decision unilaterally without pressure from China.This seems to be the idea in all the reports; China hasn't engineered this. Hard to tell, though. This will be a test of Ma's policy toward China -- will they let The Gambia drift? Or sweep it into their maw? Almost certainly the latter, as China has been busy building business and development ties with Africa while the US bombs the crap out of things there and in the Middle East.
"Right now it appears this was a personal decision made by Gambia's President Jammeh," said Simon Ko, deputy foreign minister, at a news conference on Friday.
Mr. Jammeh had cited "strategic national interest" as the reason he cut ties on Thursday, according to media reports from Gambia.
Beijing said it was caught unawares by Gambia's decision. "We learned the news from foreign media reports. There was no contact between China and Gambia," the official Xinhua News Agency quoted foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying.
Everyone always expresses worry that Taiwan will be cut off and fall into Beijing's maw like a ripe plum. I was wondering: Those "diplomatic allies" of the ROC "Taiwan" as the ROC and the rightful government of China. In other words they recognize a Taiwan-China connection. Once you lop off Taiwan's links to those states, aren't you in effect making an isolated but independent Taiwan? I wonder if Beijing sees those connections differently because it is more sensitive to the way they reinforce Taiwan-China connections. In which case, it might want to shrink the number, but still preserve a few. Comments?
Comment below observes:
What about the possible influence of mainland Chinese businessman on the entire saga? The ROC government and news media remained quite clueless on this issue for several hours yesterday while the SCMP had a long report already in June on how mainlanders get HK residency under the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES) via permanent residency in Gambia first. HK has strict quota on CIES directly from mainland,so rich mainlanders buy Gambian residencies in China for HKD 80,000 per person without even going to the Gambia. Gambian residencies account for the largest group of CIES applications (17,746 earlier this year) with only 309 Chinese actually living in Gambia. It might be less a traditional diplomatic conflict rather than network diplomacy in full swing...Link to SCMP article. A relevant portion:
Since the beginning of the Hong Kong immigration scheme, 9,050 successful CIES entrants from the mainland have cited permanent residency in The Gambia. The figures, provided by the Immigration Department this month, are as of , the latest available numbers.Gambian residencies make up nearly 60 per cent of mainland applicants and 50 per cent of all 17,746 people who have received Hong Kong visas under the scheme. The Gambia ranks No 1 among residency countries cited by CIES applicants. Guinea-Bissau falls second with 2,931 approved applications, Canada third with 1,207, and the Philippines fourth with 559.“An individual permanent residency in The Gambia costs 80,000 yuan [HK$101,240], a family application costs 100,000 yuan,” said Chen Yunjun, a Shenzhen-based agent with Qiaoshen Emigration Consulting. “One hundred per cent get approved.”“We started [selling] Gambian permanent residencies in Shenzhen in 2011,” she said. “Altogether, we have handled dozens so far.”Huaien Business Consulting, in Kunming, Yunnan province, offers similar prices for a Gambian permanent residency.“It’s 80,000 yuan per person," said a sales agent who gave only her last name as Yu."We can also get you a passport from Guinea-Bissau, we don’t do Gambian passports,” she said. “That would be 250,000 yuan.”Hong Kong agencies are more expensive. Beng Seng Immigration Consultants charges US$25,000 for an individual application, according to its website. A family application, including one underage child, costs US$32,000. Every additional child costs US$1,000 more.Dozens of visa agencies advertise Gambian residency as a way of getting into Hong Kong through CIES._______________________
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