In January 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration made a significant diplomatic decision, directing Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama to inform the world that Nigeria would no longer recognise Taiwan as a country but part of China
This policy –One China — was then documented in a memorandum of understanding which the Nigerian government signed with the People’s Republic of China’s government to that effect.
Before this development, political analysts observe that not many people knew that there is no difference between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan.
They observe that in reality, Taiwan has been tricking the public in Nigeria and beyond for decades with the name Republic of China that is not registered with the United Nations (UN).
Analysts argue further that there cannot be Republic of China when there is the main China — Peoples Republic of China.
In the light of this, the present administration holds out the belief that “One China’’ policy is a principle that implies both mainland China and Taiwan; an island, are inalienable parts of a single sovereign China.
So, in 2017, Onyeama announced to the world during a news conference with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that Nigeria would no longer allow Taiwan continue to operate in Nigeria as a country.
According to Onyeama, Nigeria has communicated to Taiwan and it has agreed to move the office 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 decision to abide by One China Policy,’’ he said.
He further reiterated that the steps taken were to right the wrong that one could not say how it came.
According to him, Nigeria’s support of “One China’’ policy however, means it recognises Peoples Republic of China as sole legal authority undertaking diplomacy and other bilateral relations.
Further to Nigeria-China agreement, the Federal Government sent circulars in to all ministries, departments and agencies, directing them not to recognise Taiwan as a country.
“The Federal Government recognises that Beijing remains the only seat of government, representing the whole of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of its territory,’’ the circular states.
Observers note that Buhari’s decision is apt, recalling that Nigeria and the People’s Republic of China have been in viable diplomatic relations for more than for 46 years.
According to them, the two developing countries share many things in common, including Nigeria being the most populous in Africa and China the most populous in the world.
Another importance of respecting “One China’’ policy is that China is one of the countries that have been in full support of reforms in UN that would see Africa having two seats at the UN Security Council.
Unarguably, China remains a technologically advanced country and a super power and Nigeria tends to gain more in maintaining a strong relationship with Beijing than with Taipei, Taiwan, they argue.
Similarly, China commands a considerable market for Nigeria’s oil exports and it has demonstrated high commitment towards keeping its position as biggest buyer of Nigeria’s crude oil.
Also, Chinese officials in Nigeria say there are more than 40 Chinese core investors and companies operating in Nigeria, including education, science and cultural exchanges.
Beside this, cooperation and economic engagement between China and Nigeria have created significant benefits for Nigeria, popularising the present administration’s change and diversification agenda.
Pledging commitment to the agreement, Dr Zhou Pingjian, Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, noted that Nigeria had been an important partner of China in Africa.
“China will firmly implement the policy of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith towards Nigeria and Africa put forward by President Xi Jinping.
“It will uphold the correct viewpoint of friendship, justice and shared interests and join hands with Nigeria for win-win cooperation and persist in planning and promoting bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective,’’ he promised.
Perspective observers, therefore, note that “One China’’ policy of the Federal Government is worthwhile considering the position of China in world’s politics.
According to them, the policy will, as well, boost African regional development because Nigeria and China have sustained extensive cooperation in many international and regional issues.(NANFeatures)
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