Kiribati, a Pacific island nation, broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan on September 20. Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu Hao pointed out that Kiriguis had no choice but to pay for the purchase of a civil aircraft. After the Taiwan media reported that the civil aircraft refers to a Boeing 737 passenger aircraft, but also the media refers to the Embraer E190 passenger aircraft.
The international diplomatic relations are very realistic. The two sides talk about the friendship between the two places, and the other side is money. For the poor areas, these “gifts” including expensive armaments, generators, etc. are indeed very practical benefits.
Taiwanese media: Kiribati’s huge money to buy civil aircraft
According to Wu Hao, Kiribati had asked Taiwan to donate funds to purchase civil aircraft. Taiwan offered counter-recommendations and replaced them with loans, but Kiribati did not accept them.
The Taiwan media has different opinions about which civil aircraft Kiribati wants to buy. Taiwanese media ETtoday quoted the news that Kiribati hopes to purchase a civil aircraft of US$70 million (about 548 million Hong Kong dollars) Boeing 737. After that, Taiwan’s intelligence has learned that the Chinese mainland government has proposed to provide civil aviation to Kiribati. It is not a Boeing airliner, but a Chinese-made C919 passenger plane.
The Central News Agency quoted the news that Kiribati proposed last year to buy two Embraer E190 civil aircraft, and hoped that Taiwan would provide one of the funds, amounting to 36 million US dollars (HK$282 million).
When the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yu Shuang responded on the same day, he denied that the mainland had launched “golden aid diplomacy” in Kiribati. He said that when the Solomon Islands severed the so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan, some people on the island of Taiwan used the same rhetoric. Confused and upside down, black and white. He also pointed out that adhering to the “one China” principle is what the people want and is unstoppable.
Armaments and generators behind the financial aid
Similar incidents did not occur for the first time. Taiwan’s public opinion also frequently reported on “golden aid diplomacy.” In the financial aid diplomacy, there are both real money involved. For example, after Taiwan broke off diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe in Africa, it criticized the other party for asking for 200 million U.S. dollars (about 1.567 billion U.S. dollars) of financial aid, but in other examples. There are also “physical” diplomacy. These items are often military supplies, including in August this year, Taiwan donated two helicopters and 30 military vehicles to Paraguay for anti-terrorism and drug crime prevention.
At the end of 2017, Taiwan also promised to the Dominican Republic (the Dominican Republic) to donate military equipment worth US$35 million, including two UH-1H helicopters, 100 engines and 90 vehicles. Military vehicles, etc., were handed over to Dominica in early 2018.
This “golden aid diplomacy” approach is also quite controversial in Taiwan. Especially in May 2018, Dominica broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan and turned to Beijing, which made the Taiwan media say that it was wasting huge sums of money. In 2007, the Taiwan government promised to send a $30 million generator set to Nicaragua, but the Taiwanese media later questioned the equipment falling into the hands of the presidential family.
Taiwan has diplomatic relations with the state, but it is subject to the economic scale and geographical location of the diplomatic relations. The export value is not high, and the benefits brought about are questioned.
Technical assistance brought by diplomatic relations
In addition to money and armament, the financial aid diplomacy actually includes a series of technical assistance. In the past, Taiwan has set up a number of plans in the Solomon Islands (the two sides broke off in September). In addition to studying the earthquake subsidy program, there are also Chinese. Teachers, programs to improve the cultivation of fruits and vegetables, beekeeping, and pig raising.
As for Kiribati, Taiwan also sends medical personnel to the local area, including setting up a Taiwan medical and health center in the only large local hospital, sending medical teams and setting up ICU wards. For poor areas, the technical support that can be brought through diplomatic relations is also very important.