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Taiwan to order Nigerian office to leave Taipei

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Taipei – Taiwan has lodged a strong protest against Nigeria after it closed its trade office in its capital, Abuja, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

Reports have it that Taiwanese government may ask the Nigerian trade office to move out of Taipei in a reciprocal move, in the wake of a spate of actions taken by the Nigerian government against Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

The ministry said that in January, the Nigerian government told Taiwan to move its office from the capital, 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.

Nigeria also demanded on March 31 that Morgan Chao (趙家寶), director of the trade office, leave the country, as 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 over the matter, urging the Nigerian government to stop its radical approach, withdraw military personnel immediately and engage in rational dialogue.

The ministry said that after Nigeria told Taiwan to change the name of its office, relocate to another city and scale back its staff, Taiwan has coordinated with the Nigerian government in an effort to find a solution acceptable to both sides.

After those efforts failed, the office started to relocate to Nigeria’s Lagos City, and the ministry expressed deep regret over what it described as the Nigerian government’s “rough and unfriendly approach.”

The ministry said Nigeria also sent military personnel to seal off the office in May 2004 for five months. After negotiations, Nigeria agreed to let the office continue to stay in the capital.

Taiwan will consider follow-up developments before deciding on reciprocal measures for the Nigerian trade office in Taiwan, the ministry said.

Nigeria’s approach is widely seen as part of China’s stepped-up efforts 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 left only 20 countries that officially recognize the Republic of China.

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