Taiwan diplomacy harder than ever in US-China tug of war

Burkina Faso established diplomatic relations with China days after breaking ties with Taiwan

His ministry accused Beijing of working to end Taiwan's 24-year relationship with Burkina Faso.

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.

Several worldwide airlines still listed Taiwan as a separate country on their websites on Friday despite a deadline set by Beijing for carriers to refer to the self-governed island as a Chinese territory.

Beijing and Taipei have each refused to diplomatically recognize any nation that recognizes the other, and each side has offered generous aid in the past to attract allies among developing countries.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chief Chen Ming-tung (陳明通) criticized the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) on Friday after a recent diplomatic setback for Taiwan, saying the formula it advocated for relations with China will not work.

Tsai says she wants to maintain the status quo but will not be bullied by China and will defend Taiwan and its democracy.

Relations with China are "no longer serving U.S. interests", said William Stanton, who headed the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) - the United States de-facto embassy in Taipei - from 2009 to 2012.

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"The Burkina Faso government is following the trend of the times and made the right political decision", he said.

She said: "China's crude behaviours to undermine our sovereignty have already challenged the bottom line of Taiwan's society". China claims the island as its sacred territory and has vowed not to allow any attempts at what it views as Taiwan separatism.

The statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry read: "We welcome Burkina Faso's early accession to the Sino-African friendship and cooperation family based on the one-China principle".

Earlier this month, the Dominican Republic established diplomatic relations with China and severed ties with Taiwan. It last did so in 1973, before resuming relations with Taipei in 1994.

The ruling Communist Party's military wing, the People's Liberation Army, has sent fighter planes near Taiwan's coast a dozen times since Tsai's election and an aircraft carrier sailing through the 110-mile-wide (170-kilometer-wide) strait that separates them.

Burkina Faso was the fourth country to cut ties with Taipei since Tsai took office two years ago.

The US has not granted special trade protections to Taiwan, such as relief from steel and aluminium tariffs, he added.

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