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Foreign Ministry assures ties with St. Lucia strong

The St. Lucian foreign minister's recent tour to China has not affected Taiwan's diplomatic ties with the Caribbean ally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

St. Lucia Foreign Minister Alva Baptiste's mid-September tour to Beijing was made under his capacity as second deputy leader of the country's ruling party, Florencia Hsie (謝妙宏), the deputy director-general of MOFA's Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs, said at a regular briefing yesterday.

The tour is purely a bipartisan exchange between the St. Lucian Labor Party and the Chinese Communist Party, she noted.

According to MOFA's understanding, the St. Lucian delegation visited China to explain to Beijing authorities its decision to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, she said.

“Official ties between Taiwan and St. Lucia remain solid,” the MOFA official said.

As evidence of a strong and stable bilateral relationship, Hsie said St. Lucia's Prime Minister Kenny Anthony along with Baptiste and other senior government officials participated in a Republic of China National Day celebration event in the Caribbean country last week.

St. Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984 but switched recognition to China in 1997.

In 2007, after 10 years of relations with Beijing, the then-ruling United Workers Party government renewed ties with Taipei.

Anthony, who was elected prime minister in November 2011, had previously pledged to review diplomatic relations with Taiwan after taking power.

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