The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu is in the news talking about how we still maintain a trade representation relationship with Taiwan. How “Taiwan trade office is the only Taiwanese representation in Nigeria and Nigeria’s trade office in Taipei is our only representation in Taiwan. And how a certain “One China policy” has not affected anything.
But how true is this?
Taiwan is an island, a few hundred kilometers to the east of China and is currently giving the super power a proper run for it’s domineering stance in Asia. Taiwan has for long governed itself as a province; currently, its being ruled by President Tsai Ing-wen’s who has refused to accept the Chinese communist party’s “One China” foreign policy which seeks to make all its neighbouring provinces including Taiwan, even though it has led to a passive-aggressive and sometimes violent relationship between the two nations.
Now where does Nigeria come in?
Foreign policy. Ideally, we should maintain friendly and diplomatic relations with both Taiwan and China notwithstanding the relations between both nations. And that was the status quo. Until the President received the Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi, at the State House on Wednesday.
Apart from everything else that China has done for Nigeria, the Asian giant has just promised to invest a fresh $40 billion in the country and has also promised to loan us $ 6 billion. Some of the ongoing projects sponsored by the Chinese in Nigeria include railways, the Abuja-Keffi Expressway, among others and the sum of 100 million Yuan would be released for agriculture demonstration centres soon.
President Buhari was quick to promise that from now on, we will collaborate with China and keep our side of the bargain in all the agreements we have signed.
In his remarks, the Chinese Foreign Minister lauded Nigeria for recognising the “one China policy,” saying President Buhari, who fought a civil war to keep Nigeria one, knows the value of unity.
This is obviously where the problem comes in. Recognising the One China policy means that Nigeria has expressed an intention to stop all relations with Taiwan as an independent country. Further, it means that we have taken a stand in the struggle between the two nations, losing our previous neutral position.
The media adviser’s comments today is a little too late and too inconsequential in the light of things. Reuters is reporting that Taiwan objected on yesterday to an “unreasonable” Nigerian request to move its representative office out of the capital Abuja, a day after China’s promise of investing more billions in Nigeria.
This is how countries became divided prior to the World Wars. Essentially, we will now be fighting alongside the Chinese – no matter the enemy. And this will make matters worse for Nigeria once the new United States President is sworn in.
Trump has made no secret of his displeasure towards China and has even talked to the Taiwanese President, Tsai on the phone upending several years neutral diplomatic relations between China and Taiwan.
Nigeria’s dependence on America in terms aids and grants is almost unquantifiable and so of Trump goes ahead with his pro-Taiwanisation stance, that might also pit Nigeria against America.
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