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China snatches Dominican Republic from Taiwan in diplomatic blow

The Dominican Republic has announced it has severed ties with Taiwan and switched its allegiance to China, reducing t...

Posted: May 1, 2018 2:04 PM
Updated: May 1, 2018 2:04 PM

The Dominican Republic has announced it has severed ties with Taiwan and switched its allegiance to China, reducing the number of countries with formal relations with the government in Taipei to fewer than 20.

In a hastily arranged ceremony, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart from the Caribbean country signed an agreement after the Dominican Republic moved to formally cut ties with the government in Tapei.

"Establishing diplomatic ties with China means unprecedented huge potential opportunities for the Dominican Republic's development," Wang said.

China refuses to maintain diplomatic relations with any country that recognizes Taiwan, a self-governed and democratic island off China's southeastern coast that Beijing considers an integral part of its territory.

Taipei reacted angrily to the news, which left the island with 19 diplomatic allies around the world -- mostly small and poor countries in the Pacific and the Caribbean, with the Dominican Republic being the largest before the latest development.

"The Dominican Republic has ignored our long-term partnership, the wishes of the people of the Dominican Republic and the years of development assistance provided by Taiwan to accept false promises of investment and aid by China," Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters.

Beijing and Taipei have a long history of rivalry in their efforts to gain economic opportunities and diplomatic support from governments around the world. With China's rapidly rising economic and political might, however, the race is increasingly tilting in China's favor.

Last year, in another major blow to Taiwan, Panama switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing. There also have been strong indications that the Vatican -- Taiwan's most symbolically important remaining ally -- may follow suit in the near future.

Long-running rivalry

China and Taiwan -- officially the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, respectively -- separated in 1949 following the Communist victory on the mainland after a civil war.

The two sides have been governed separately since, though a shared cultural and linguistic heritage mostly endures -- with Mandarin spoken as the official language in both places.

Although both Beijing and Taipei view the island as part of China, neither government recognizes the legitimacy of the opposing side.

There is a strong pro-independence sentiment within Taiwan's current ruling party led by President Tsai Ing-wen, prompting Beijing to harden its stance and stress its long-standing pledge to retake the island by force if necessary.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, the country's most powerful leader in decades who recently vowed safeguard "every inch of our great motherland's territory," ordered ramped-up military exercises around the island last month.

These included live-fire drills, sailing China's only aircraft carrier through the Taiwan Strait, and dispatching its fighters and bombers for "encirclement patrols."

Analysts see Beijing's warnings not just directed at Tsai's government in Taipei but also at the United States, which has grown closer to Taiwan under President Donald Trump.

Washington has close unofficial ties with Taiwan and provides the island with arms under the Taiwan Relations Act, but the US has formal diplomatic relations only with Beijing.

'Wishful thinking'

In the past few months, the Trump administration angered Beijing by authorizing US manufacturers to sell submarine technology to Taiwan, as well as enacting the Taiwan Travel Act to encourage official visits between the US and the island.

While Tsai has expressed confidence in the Taiwanese military's capability to defend the island, she appeared to extend an olive branch to Beijing on Friday in light of the historic summit between the leaders of North and South Korea -- another divided region in Asia.

Tsai said that she would be willing to hold talks with Xi if such a meeting could take place "on an equal footing and without any political precondition" -- an idea already scoffed by China's state media as "wishful thinking."

"On the one hand, she has been stepping up efforts to make Taiwan 'less Chinese' and carrying out a policy of 'saying no to China while fawning all over the US and Japan'; and on the other hand, she now demands respect for Taiwan from the mainland and wants to talk 'without any political precondition,'" said an online commentary of the People's Daily, the ruling Chinese Communist Party's mouthpiece.

"Does Ms. Tsai think everyone else is a fool?"

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 727764

Reported Deaths: 13397
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion995211738
Lake53461965
Allen40457675
St. Joseph35506550
Hamilton35489408
Elkhart28433441
Tippecanoe22359218
Vanderburgh22284396
Porter18668307
Johnson17905377
Hendricks17180315
Clark12930191
Madison12592339
Vigo12431246
Monroe11858170
LaPorte11821210
Delaware10648185
Howard9865216
Kosciusko9378117
Hancock8251140
Bartholomew8052155
Warrick7771155
Floyd7649177
Grant7027174
Wayne7026199
Boone6679101
Morgan6555139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6005111
Dearborn579277
Cass5788105
Henry5688103
Noble558883
Jackson500872
Shelby490296
Lawrence4505120
Harrison434772
Gibson434692
Clinton427053
DeKalb426484
Montgomery423588
Whitley394739
Huntington389080
Steuben383857
Miami380666
Knox371890
Jasper363847
Putnam358860
Wabash353379
Adams340654
Ripley339170
Jefferson328881
White313254
Daviess295899
Wells291081
Decatur284292
Fayette279262
Greene277385
Posey271033
Scott265453
LaGrange265370
Clay259146
Washington240032
Randolph239781
Spencer232031
Jennings229549
Starke215453
Fountain212046
Sullivan211142
Owen198156
Fulton194740
Jay192530
Carroll188320
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush172925
Vermillion168543
Franklin167735
Tipton162445
Parke145916
Blackford134632
Pike133234
Pulaski116445
Newton107234
Brown101641
Crawford99314
Benton98414
Martin88315
Warren81715
Switzerland7848
Union70810
Ohio56411
Unassigned0414

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1081518

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1256551400
Cuyahoga1117782115
Hamilton798901205
Montgomery513291014
Summit47080945
Lucas42049788
Butler38301584
Stark32242906
Lorain24958481
Warren24262298
Mahoning21511588
Lake20618369
Clermont19747238
Delaware18503133
Licking16410212
Fairfield16160199
Trumbull16019468
Medina15247264
Greene15043244
Clark13970299
Wood13065189
Portage12825203
Allen11626232
Richland11323199
Miami10661217
Muskingum8799133
Wayne8784211
Columbiana8766229
Pickaway8551121
Marion8514135
Tuscarawas8470244
Erie7871154
Hancock6906127
Ross6842155
Ashtabula6792170
Geauga6677148
Scioto6405101
Belmont5873167
Union570348
Lawrence5546102
Jefferson5521151
Huron5427119
Darke5347123
Sandusky5337120
Seneca5275121
Athens518858
Washington5153109
Auglaize489584
Mercer480385
Shelby468893
Knox4483110
Madison435561
Putnam4278100
Fulton421669
Ashland421489
Defiance419297
Crawford3970107
Brown393857
Logan381576
Preble379398
Clinton371263
Ottawa366679
Highland354662
Williams338575
Champaign331458
Guernsey315653
Jackson312151
Perry294850
Morrow284639
Fayette281550
Hardin270664
Henry268466
Coshocton264557
Holmes2593101
Van Wert243363
Adams237752
Pike237534
Gallia235349
Wyandot230855
Hocking215262
Carroll191247
Paulding172540
Meigs144740
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108323
Harrison107637
Vinton82815
Unassigned02
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Rain moves in overnight into Sunday morning and looks to hang around much of the day, likely forcing Mother's Day plans indoors
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