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eSwatini vows to keep Taiwan diplomatic relations despite Chinese pressure

Eswatini

<p><strong>The Kingdom of eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, will maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan, a government spokesman told Reuters on Friday, despite Chinese pressure on the southern African nation to sever ties with Taiwan.</strong></p> <p>eSwatini has had close relations with Taiwan for several decades and is its last remaining African ally after a concerted push by Beijing to isolate the self-ruled island off the east coast of China.</p> <p>The Chinese government’s top diplomat last month <a href="http://www.africanews.com/2018/05/26/china-wins-back-burkina-faso-urges-taiwan-s-last-african-ally-to-follow/"target="_blank">urged</a> eSwatini to follow the west African state of Burkina Faso in ending ties with Taiwan, which Beijing says is a Chinese province.</p> <h3>Rumour of ditching Taiwan is ‘fake news’</h3> <p>“There is no change of heart or position on our ties with Taiwan. Whoever spreads rumours that we will ditch Taiwan can be referred to as a fake news peddler,” said Percy Simelane, a spokesman for the government of eSwatini.</p> <p>King Mswati <span class="caps">III</span>, Africa’s last absolute monarch, changed his country’s name to eSwatini, meaning “land of the Swazis”, in April during celebrations to mark 50 years of independence.</p> <p>China’s foreign ministry said on Friday that it hoped eSwatini would break off relations with Taiwan before early September, when Beijing will host a summit of African leaders.</p> <p>Taiwan has accused China of promising generous aid packages to lure away its allies, charges China has denied.</p> <p><strong><em><span class="caps">REUTERS</span></em></strong></p>

There is no change of heart or position on our ties with Taiwan. Whoever spreads rumours that we will ditch Taiwan can be referred to as a fake news peddler.

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