Taiwan Left With One Africa Friend as Burkina Faso Cuts Ties

(Bloomberg) -- Burkina Faso is ending relations with Taiwan in favor of China, leaving the self-governed island with only one diplomatic partner in Africa.

Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry announced the move Thursday to reporters in the capital, Ouagadougou, saying a relationship with China will better serve the West African nation’s interests.

“We want to build better partnerships for our people’s social and economic development,” said Barry. “The President gave instructions to take all the necessary measures for the closure of our embassy in Taipei and Taiwan’s embassy in our country.”

Burkina Faso’s decision comes less than a month after the Dominican Republic made a similar announcement and will cut to 18 the number of nations that recognize the government in Taipei, rather than Beijing -- the latest success in China’s effort to squeeze Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. The tiny kingdom of Swaziland in southern Africa remains the last nation on the continent that’s kept ties with Taiwan.

Recognition Switch

China claims sovereignty over the self-ruled democracy and threatens to invade should Taiwan ever move to formalize its independence.

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu blamed China for Burkina Faso’s decision, telling reporters in Taipei that efforts to persuade countries to switch recognition to Beijing won’t improve the cross-strait relationship.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.