The Federal Government of Nigeria, has denied cutting ties with Taiwan, hours after an official of the government was quoted to have said so.
In a statement by Mr Garba Shehu, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidency dismissed as incorrect media reports that Nigeria had cut ties with Taiwan.
He said that the correct position was that the official relationship between Nigeria and Taiwan had been at the level of trade representation and “this has not changed from what it used to be”.
“Taiwan trade office is the only Taiwanese representation in Nigeria and Nigeria’s trade office in Taipei is our only representation in Taiwan.
“Nigeria recognises and will sustain the “One China” policy and nothing has happened so far to change that level of relationship,” the statement read.
However, the Statement did not state if earlier report that Nigeria had asked Taiwan to move its office from Abuja to Lagos was also not correct.
‘Pressured By China’
The Minister Of Foreign affairs, Goeffry Onyeama, had earlier on Wednesday announced the government decision at a press conference in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Sola Enikanolaiye, who was also at the briefing, said “Nigeria has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan, only trade and commercial ties”.
He said, since Lagos is regarded as the commercial capital of the country, then Taiwan’s office should be in Lagos and not Abuja.
Taiwan has, however, objected to the Federal Government’s move saying the Nigerian government is being pressured by China to isolate it- a claim Mr Onyeama denied.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province, ineligible for state-to-state relations, and to be taken back by force if necessary, especially if it makes moves toward independence.
“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 internationally, we recognise the people of China,” the minister said.
“Chinese government does not oppose trading with Taiwan as long as there is no formal contact with the government that will suggest recognition of Taiwan as a sovereign country.”
Meanwhile, the small island nation is hoping that Nigeria could leave room for further discussion based on the policies of mutual benefits and equality.