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March 31, 2017

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Diplomatic staff await censure over Gambia

TAIPEI--Premier Jiang Yi-huah said Tuesday the government will conduct a review and discipline diplomatic personnel stationed in The Gambia after the West African state caught Taiwan by surprise when it abruptly severed diplomatic ties.

Taiwan announced the termination of diplomatic relations with The Gambia on Monday, three days after Gambian President Yahya Jammeh issued a statement on Nov. 15, saying that his country was ending diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Jiang said diplomats stationed in the country failed to send any warning of a pending change in bilateral diplomatic ties.

"On that point alone, we will conduct a thorough review and mete out administrative discipline," he said at a legislative hearing in response to lawmakers' concern over The Gambia's abrupt announcement.

The premier said diplomatic personnel on the front line were well aware of loan demands made by The Gambia but had no inkling that Jammeh was about to cut ties.

"This isn't simply a problem of bad judgment on the part of diplomatic personnel or the ambassador," he said.

The premier noted that for members of Taiwan's overseas mission in the country, including Ministry of Economic Affairs and National Security Bureau people and military, education and medical personnel, everything was business as usual, with nothing to indicate the pending break in relations.

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