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Old 06-07-2007, 05:15 PM
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Daily Times

Friday, June 08, 2007

Russia dismisses ‘emotional’ Blair warning on investors

HEILIGENDAMM: Russia dismissed Thursday a warning by British Prime Minister Tony Blair that investors will shun a Russia that fails to accept common European values.

“I doubt business will react to the rather emotional words of, after all, an ex-prime minister,” Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told reporters at the Group of Eight summit in Germany.

He was reacting to Blair’s warning on the eve of the G8 that Russia must stick to “shared principles and shared values.”

Otherwise, “people in Europe will want to minimize the business they do with Russia,” said Blair, who leaves office on June 27.

Britain is the biggest foreign investor in Russia, which is accused in Western capitals of curbing democracy, shackling the media and acting aggressively toward smaller neighbours — charges that Moscow rejects. afp
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Old 06-07-2007, 05:16 PM
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Taiwan taking 'extreme precautions' after Costa Rica switches diplomatic ties to China




By Peter Enav
ASSOCIATED PRESS

3:15 a.m. June 7, 2007

TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan's foreign minister ordered “extreme precautions” be taken Thursday to hold on to the island's allies in Latin America after Costa Rica switched diplomatic relations to political rival China, further isolating the Taipei government.
Beijing, meanwhile, urged Taiwan's allies to end their relationships with the island.



Advertisement Taiwanese Foreign Minister James Huang told reporters he had ordered Taiwanese embassies in Latin America to guard against further Chinese inroads.
“I've asked our embassies to take extreme precautions against any further pressure by the Chinese communists,” he said.

Huang did not elaborate on what the embassies would do but Vice President Annette Lu announced she would travel to Paraguay in July to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations with that Latin American country – a move she tied directly to the Costa Rican move.

“Now we have to step up our diplomatic work,” she said.

Since splitting amid civil war in 1949, Taiwan and China have fought to win the diplomatic allegiance of countries around the world. China refuses to have diplomatic ties with nations that recognize Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province it plans to eventually unify with the mainland.

Costa Rica's switch leaves Taiwan with 24 diplomatic partners. The pervasive fear on this democratic island of 23 million people is that its remaining partners in Latin America will now follow the Costa Rican lead, leaving it to count on countries such as Palau and St. Lucia to bolster its claims of international legitimacy.

“We hope the relevant countries can follow the trend of the times and make the right choice,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular news conference Thursday.

In seeking to gain advantage, both China and Taiwan routinely offer generous grants and other inducements to the mostly poor nations that are now the focus of their diplomatic efforts.

Huang said Thursday that China had offered Costa Rica “an astronomical figure” to ditch Taipei. He did not specify what it was.

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias acknowledged Wednesday that the decision to go with Beijing was related to Costa Rica's desire to bolster its economy, though he made no mention of any special handout.

“We are looking to strengthen the commercial ties and attract investment,” Arias said. “China is the most successful emerging economy in the world and soon it will be the second strongest economy in the world after the United States.”

Analyst Andrew Yang of the Taipei-based Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies said the Costa Rican action was a huge blow to Taiwan's international standing – something that would likely create a chain reaction among at least a portion of its seven remaining Latin American allies.

“Probably Nicaragua and Panama are next and then maybe Paraguay,” he said.

Taiwanese financial analysts saw little direct fallout from the Costa Rican move, saying that neither the island's massive external trade nor its burgeoning commercial ties with China – which persist despite the political tensions between them – would be affected.

“Costa Rica only accounts for a very small portion of overall trading volume,” said Citibank's Renee Chen.

The Costa Rican move away from Taiwan followed last month's decision by the tiny Caribbean island of St. Lucia to switch relations from Beijing to Taipei – a rare Taiwanese triumph in a tit- for-tat struggle that in recent years has seen the Taiwanese lose the allegiance of countries such as Senegal and Chad.

It also followed an emergency meeting on May 25 held in the central American country of Belize between Huang and diplomats from five countries in the region, including Costa Rica.

Huang called the meeting to try to shore up Taiwan's diplomatic standing in the area after Costa Rica voted against holding a discussion on proposed Taiwanese membership in the World Health Organization and two other Taiwanese allies from the region failed to take part in the ballot.

Huang said he had gone to President Chen Shui-bian and offered to resign to take responsibility for the Costa Rican defection. Chen later rejected the offer.

Taiwan's remaining 24 diplomatic allies are mostly small and impoverished nations in the Caribbean, Africa and the south Pacific. By contrast China has diplomatic relations with about 170 countries.

That represents a sharp turn turnaround from the high watermark of Taiwan's diplomatic position in 1967, when it had full relations with 67 countries, including the United States and much of western Europe.

Things started to go badly for it in 1971, when the United Nations shifted its recognition from Taipei to Beijing. By 1979 – when the United States pulled its embassy out of the Taiwanese capital – only 22 countries were left.

In addition to the 24 states that recognize Taipei, dozens of others – including the United States, Japan and Great Britain – maintain quasi-official offices – part of a diplomatic sleight of hand to honor Beijing's condition that full diplomatic recognition be accorded to only one of the rivals.
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Old 06-07-2007, 05:17 PM
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The following is the first "reader reply" the the previous post:

By lostviking on 06/07/2007

Just more weak countries following the money instead of what is right. The United States being in the front of the crowded group of traitors to democracy.

If Bush wanted to do one good thing he should reestablish relations with the correct China. The one that doesn't have nukes pointed at us. And as for the UN. Who cares? They are a failure. All politics and talk, no good.
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