Taiwan left with 18 diplomatic allies as Burkina Faso cuts ties

President Tsai Ing-wen says China uses money to entice many countries to build relations.

Kayla Wong | May 26, 2018, 04:23 PM

In less than a month, Taiwan lost two diplomatic allies.

Burkina Faso -- a landlocked country on the southern rim of the Sahara and one of the world's poorest nations -- broke off diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Thursday (May 24).

The Dominican Republic did the same on May 1.

Left with only 18 diplomatic allies

Taiwan is now recognised by only 18 countries worldwide, many of them from Central America and the Pacific.

Its only diplomatic ally left in Africa is the tiny kingdom of Swaziland.

Here are the 18 countries that still recognise Taiwan, as of May 26, 2018.


  • Swaziland


  • Vatican City


  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tuvalu


  • Haiti
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Central America

  • Belize
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Honduras
  • Nicaragua

South America

  • Paraguay

The Burkinabe foreign ministry's statement said "the evolution of the world and the socio-economic challenges of our country and region push us to reconsider our position".

The statement made no mention of China.

China's foreign ministry, on the other hand, said that they welcome Burkina Faso to join the China-Africa friendly cooperation as soon as possible.


"Dollar diplomacy"

According to Reuters, President Tsai Ing-wen denounced Beijing's methods at a news conference in Taipei.

She said:

"China toys with dollar diplomacy and promises huge sums of money to entice many countries to build relations.

I want to emphasise again that China's pressure will only lead to Taiwan's ties with its partners in the international community getting closer.

We will not cower at all."

Taiwan's finance ministry also said it would end its aid programmes in Burkina Faso immediately, in addition to closing the Taiwan embassy there.

Lost cause?

Taiwan's foreign minister, Joseph Wu, who spoke shortly before Tsai, said that Taiwan cannot compete with China's financial resources.

He said:

"I along with our country's people feel sad, angry and regretful.

China grabbing our allies and giving us pressure in the diplomatic space will not shrink the distance across the (Taiwan) strait and will not let cross-strait relations walk on a peaceful, friendly path."

He had offered his resignation to Tsai.

Taiwan a sensitive issue to China

Taiwan is an extremely sensitive territorial issue to China.

China considers the self-ruled island as a renegade province and does not rule out the use of force to bring it under Chinese control.

Back in March, it urged Taiwan's allies to follow the "irresistible trend" and ditch Taipei in favour of a "one China" ruled by Beijing, saying that it was in their best interests.

It has also pressured airlines to comply with a demand to list Taiwan as a region of China -- a request slammed by Washington as "Orwellian nonsense".

While The White House condemns China for imposing its political correctness on American carriers and citizens, China has maintained that foreign firms operating in China should "respect the feelings of the Chinese people" and that it is simply the price of doing business in China.

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