Taiwan opens office in Guyana; Todd says no shift in foreign policy

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Taiwan has announced the opening of an office in Guyana, but the Foreign Ministry here said this does not signal the establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgetown and Taipei and hence there is no change to the “one China” policy.

The United States has welcomed the move; Washington has long expressed growing concern about China’s deepening influence in the Caribbean and Latin America.

There has been no formal announcement by the Foreign Ministry in Georgetown, but Taiwan said it signed the agreement on January 11, 2021, and started operations on January 15.

Contacted for comment, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, told the News Room that the Taiwan office will be merely to facilitate trade and investment between the private sectors of Guyana and China and does not represent the start of diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Guyana has historically supported China and the “One China” policy, which does not recognise Taiwan as an independent state.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd [Photo: Keno George]
The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry tweeted that “the facility” in Georgetown represents the commitment of both sides to promoting a partnership of prosperity based on democratic values across areas like agriculture, education, investment and trade.”

The Foreign Ministry in Taipei also thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Guyana for its “friendship & support.”

In a statement, the United States applauded the agreement to establish a Taiwan office in Guyana.

“Deepening ties between Guyana and Taiwan will advance their shared goals of prosperity and security.

“Closer ties with Taiwan will advance cooperation and development in Guyana on the basis of shared democratic values, transparency, and mutual respect,” the U.S. Embassy in Georgetown stated.

Taiwan has formal diplomatic relations with 14 countries. Its Caribbean allies are Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and St. Lucia.

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