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June 28, 2017

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Lawmaker urges MOFA to explain remarks about allies

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- An opposition lawmaker yesterday urged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to clarify an op-ed article published by an American business magazine earlier this week in which said Taiwan can afford to lose more diplomatic allies.

In the article published online by the Forbes' Asian edition on June 11, the op-ed piece entitled "Taiwan Can Afford To Lose More Diplomatic Allies" argues that it is okay for the island to lose more allies as long as it maintains close relations with the United States and enhance economic and trade ties with major partners.

Written by a Taipei-based contributing freelancer Ralph Jennings, the piece said Taipei is currently facing a latest diplomatic crisis after two of its 22 allies, Sao Tome and Principe and the Vatican, are reportedly engaging in closer ties with Beijing recently.

But the article argues that it is fine for Taiwan to lose the two allies as long as it keep close relations with major trading partners as well as the U.S.

Quoting Sean King, senior vice president with the consultancy Park Strategies in New York, the article said "Taipei can stand to lose a few more formal allies, so long as America's in its corner."

  "That's the only 'alliance,' formal or informal, that really matters," the article said.

Quoting the article, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) said in her Facebook page yesterday that the article could cause further harm to Taiwan and gives China good reason to continue to woe Taiwan's diplomatic allies and squeeze its diplomatic space in the global stage.

She called on the MOFA to clarify Taiwan government's stance to the magazine.

Asked to comment, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) yesterday told The China Post that the MOFA fully respects media freedom.

  But it will communicate with the journalist who wrote the article because he apparently misunderstood Taiwan's foreign policy.

She stressed that Taiwan cherish its diplomatic relations and friendship with its allies and will continue to promote closer ties with them.

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