Gonsalves says diplomatic relations with Taiwan is in St Vincent’s best interest

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, has described as “unfortunate” the position of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) that it would sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan should it win the next general election in the country.

Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves
Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves

“It is not too late for them to change their minds, and I am urging them so to do,” Gonsalves said as he addressed an event to mark Taiwan’s 108th National Day last Thursday.

He told the ceremony that for the past 38 years, successive governments in the country have enjoyed very close relations with Taiwan, which China considers to be a renegade province.

“It is not too late for them (Opposition) to change their minds.”

— Gonsalves

Taiwan has diplomatic relationships with a handful of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries, most notably St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines, while the majority of the 15-member regional grouping favour relations with Beijing that insists on countries adhering to its “one China” policy.

In 2016, the NDP, then headed by Arnhim Eustace, said if they are voted into office at the next general election, they would switch diplomatic recognition to China.

Since 2017, Dr Godwin Friday, who succeeded Eustace as NDP president and Opposition Leader, has repeatedly reaffirmed his party’s commitment to ending diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in favour of China.