Taiwan to order Nigerian office to leave Taipei

Taiwan will tell the Nigerian trade office to move out of Taipei in a reciprocal move, in the wake of a spate of actions taken by the African country against Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

The ministry said that in January, the Nigerian government ordered Taiwan to move its office from the capital, Abuja, change the name of the office — the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan), Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria — and cut the number of staff in the office.

It also demanded on March 31 that Morgan Chao (趙家寶), director of the trade office, leave the country, saying that it could not guarantee his safety. Chao has since returned to Taiwan.

Nigeria then sent military personnel on June 30 to seal off the trade office and forced the staff to leave.

The ministry has lodged a serious protest and expressed deep regret over the matter, it said.

The ministry said that there are still four staff of the trade office in Abuja, and they have started relocating to the Nigerian city of Lagos.

After the completion of the relocation, it will adopt reciprocal moves and tell Nigeria’s trade office to move out of Taipei.

Nigeria’s approach is widely seen as part of stepped-up efforts by China to pressure Taiwan since the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office on May 20, 2016 and adopted a less conciliatory attitude toward China than its predecessor.

In mid-June, Panama announced its switching of diplomatic ties from Taipei to Beijing and the cutting of all official ties with Taiwan, a decision that leaves only 20 countries that officially recognize the Republic of China (Taiwan).

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