Published On: Wed, Jan 11th, 2017

Buhari Pledges To Honour Agreements With China, Downgrades Relations With Taiwan

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By Sadiq Umar – President Muhammadu Buhari has assured the People’s Republic of China of Nigeria’s commitment to all agreements signed with the country last April, expressing readiness to keep its side of the bargain. Even as Nigeria withdrawn full diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Mr. Buhari, who spoke during a visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, at the State House, Abuja Wednesday stressed the need for collaboration between Nigeria and China.

The President said his administration is fully committed to the infrastructural development of the country.

‘‘This administration is very serious about infrastructural development. We want rail, road, power, skill acquisition for our people. We ought to have developed beyond this point, but we neglected infrastructure when we had the resources.

‘‘Now, we have to collaborate with you, and we will keep our side of the bargain in all the agreements we have signed,” Buhari said.

In his remarks, the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister described President Buhari’s visit to China last year as “very successful,” adding that President Xi Jinping looked forward to greater collaboration between the two countries.

Mr. Wang Yi lauded Nigeria for recognizing the “one China policy,” saying President Buhari, who fought a civil war to keep Nigeria one, knows the value of unity.

He also commended efforts being made by the President to diversify the Nigerian economy, stressing that China will be a reliable partner in the ongoing efforts to restructure the economy.

‘‘We will cooperate with you to achieve food self-sufficiency. We will also get involved in industrialization, hydro power, and the military and defence sector,” Mr. Wang Yi said.

The Chinese minister also expressed his country’s satisfaction with Buhari’s administration war against terrorism.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said that Nigeria would no longer recognize Taiwan as a country but would henceforth relate with her at the level of trade.

Mr. Onyeama stated this while answering questions at a joint news conference with the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja.

He said Nigeria had withdrawn all diplomatic relations with Taiwan as a country, adding that Taiwanese office in Abuja would be shut down and be relocated to Lagos.

He said Nigeria has communicated the development to Taiwan, adding that the (Taiwan)autonomous region would be moving to Lagos as soon as possible.

“Taiwan will stop enjoying any privileges because it is not a country that is recognised under international law and under the position we have taken internationally we recognise the people of China.

“Taiwan will not have any diplomatic representation in Nigeria and also they will be moving to Lagos to the extent that they function as a trade mission with a skeletal staff.

“Chinese Government does not oppose trading with Taiwan as long as there is no formal contact with the Government that will suggest recognition of Taiwan as sovereign country,” he said.

He however, pointed out that Nigeria was not pressurized to take the decision.

He said Nigeria was one the leading African nations that fought for China to reclaim its seat at the UN Security Council from Taiwan.

“It was not very clear how it got into Nigeria system – an arrangement for the Taiwan for a trade mission.

“And in grating the right of the trade mission it did not accurately reflect the nature of relationship between Nigeria and Taiwan,” he said.

Mr. Onyeama said the country took the decision to remove any iota of doubt in the mind of the Chinese people.

He further noted that the international community had embraced one China policy and “China is a member of the United Nations and we don’t want to leave any doubt on the issue,” he added.

He said Nigeria as a nation would do everything to realise the One China Policy as well as any effort that would promote the peace and well-being of the People’s Republic of China.

He also observed that China is one of the countries that have been in full support of reforms in the UN that would see Africa having two seats at the UN Security Council, as such deserved to be supported in her unification drive of One China.

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