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Taiwan Forswears 'Checkbook Diplomacy'

November 10, 1996|From Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Stung by allegations that it uses money to win diplomatic backing, Taiwan said Saturday that it will no longer employ its wealth to fight China's diplomatic blockade.

The announcement by Foreign Minister John Chang followed allegations that the Taiwanese governing party's top money man offered to contribute $15 million to President Clinton's reelection campaign at a time when Taiwan was raising its diplomatic profile over furious objections from rival China.

The allegations, strongly denied by all concerned, have prompted the Taiwanese media to look deeper into their government's so-called "checkbook diplomacy" and have provoked opposition complaints that Taiwan is demeaning itself.

It is widely believed that both China and Taiwan try to win diplomatic recognition by dangling aid and loans in front of foreign countries--mostly small and needy ones. Some governments have switched ties repeatedly, allegedly cashing in each time.

At a news conference, Chang chose his words carefully, avoiding any suggestion that Taiwan has initiated financial offers. Instead he spoke of countries "trying to take advantage of the contradictions" between Taiwan and China and "swinging to and fro in their attitudes."

"In the past, we may have tolerated such speculative moves, but we won't permit this to happen now," he said.

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