Senegal re-establishes diplomatic relations with China

Senegal has re-established diplomatic relations with China, according to a communique from the West African country's Foreign Ministry. Taiwan responded by severing diplomatic ties with Senegal and accusing it of switching to Beijing because of Chinese pressure and offers of aid.

Although democratic Taiwan is self-governing, communist Beijing insists the island that broke away amid civil war in 1949 still is part of China.

"There's no friendship between countries but only interests," Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade had said in a statement Tuesday. Taiwan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement late Tuesday that in addition to severing ties, Taiwan was suspending all its programs, including aid for irrigation, medicine, education and farming, in Senegal.

China and Senegal had diplomatic relations from 1971 until 1996, when Senegal switched to Taiwan. In recent years, Beijing has aggressively pursued Taiwan's allies with generous offers of aid and promises to send tourists in what some critics have labeled "dollar diplomacy." Taiwan has only 25 diplomatic allies, mostly small and poor countries in Africa and Central America. It also has been accused of engaging in "dollar diplomacy," but appears to be in a losing battle in recent years as China gains in economic might.

During the earlier period when China and Senegal had diplomatic relations, China built numerous projects in Senegal, including the Friendship Stadium and the Bignona Water Conservancy Project, reports the AP. I.L.

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