Taiwan has been part of China since ancient times.
According to Cairo declaration in 1943, all the territories Japan had stolen from China including Taiwan shall be restored to China.
More important, in the Potsdam Declaration in 1945 which articulated the conditions of the surrender of Japan, “reiterated the terms of Cairo Declaration”.
The UN Resolution 2758 in 1971 recognizes that representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China are the only lawful representatives of China.
The one China principle is the precondition and political basis for China to establish and develop diplomatic relations with other countries. It means there is but one China in the world.
Both the Mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China. Adhering to the one China principle means refusal to develop any relations of official nature with Taiwan authorities, including any official exchange or contact or signing agreements having any sovereignty connotation or of official nature with Taiwan authorities, and establishing bodies of official or diplomatic nature in each other’s place.
President Trump told President Xi Jinping of China that the United States would honor the “One China” policy, reversing his earlier expressions of doubt about the longtime diplomatic understanding and removing a major source of tension between the United States and China since shortly after he was elected.
In a statement, the White House said Mr. Trump and Mr. Xi “discussed numerous topics, and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our One China policy.”
Nigeria’s commitment to one China policy
In 1971, at the signing and issuing of communique between the Governments of China and Nigeria on establishing diplomatic relations, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria clearly recognizes that there is only but one China in the world, namely that the PRC government is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China.
In the joint communique between the Governments of China and Nigeria in 2001, “Both sides expressed unflinching support for each other’s efforts to safeguard national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Nigerian side reiterates the one China policy that there is but one China in the world, the Government of the peoples of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory, and that Nigeria will only enter into private-sector-led trade and economic relations with Taiwan.
In the joint communique between the Government of China and Nigeria in 2006, “the two sides pledged to support each on issues relating to sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Nigerian side reiterates its adherence to the one China policy and opposition to ‘Taiwan independence’ in any form including ‘de jure Taiwan independence’ and to Taiwan’s participation in any international or regional organization whose membership applies only to sovereign states.
The Nigerian side also reiterated its position of not having official relations or contact with Taiwan and its support for all efforts made by the Chinese Government to realize national reunification.”
In the joint communique between the Government of China and Nigeria in 2014, the Nigerian side reiterated its commitment to the one China policy.
The Origin of the Taiwan Issue in Nigeria
Regrettably, in 1990, the then Nigerian Minister of Trade and Tourism signed with Taiwan authorities an MOU on the establishment of the so- called ‘trade Mission of the ROC (Taiwan) in Nigeria” without the participation of Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (hereinafter referred as the “Taipei Trade Office).
The MOU should be ignored as it has inbuilt defects that nullify it. However, the “Taipei Trade Office” moved to the new capital city Abuja upon the approval of the Nigerian Government in 2001.
Since its establishment, the “Taipei Trade Office” in Nigeria have been using the designation of “Republic of China” and “Taiwan” in correspondence and documents and using consular vehicle plate, which create “one China, one Taiwan” or “two Chinas” in Nigeria.
It is only case in countries having established diplomatic relations with China in Africa, which seriously violates the one China commitment by Nigeria in communiques between the Governments of China and Nigeria.
The “Taipei Trade Office” in Nigeria under the pretence of trade, yet in the name of “Republic of China” and Taiwan”, is engaged in separatist activities including meeting with Nigerian Government officials and legislators and inviting them to visit Taiwan.
They even engage with diplomatic corps in Nigeria with the purpose to use Nigeria as a stronghold to infiltrate into Western African countries and undermine China-Nigeria as well as China-Africa relations.
More ridiculously, the head of the agency even calls himself “Taiwan Ambassador to Nigeria.
In 2016 alone, they deliberately organized and publicize some activities with Nigeria high-level officials involved, which caused immediately damage to China-Nigeria relations and Nigeria’s international credibility.
In April, 2016, the head of the trade office received the Bauchi State Governor Mohammed A. Abubakar and Sen. Umaru Dahiru Tambuwal in his residence in Abuja, in the name of “Taiwanese Ambassador”.
In May, 2016, the head of the trade office met with the Nigerian First Lady Aisha Buhari and boasted about the meeting in the name of “Republic of China” and “Taiwan”.
In June, 2016, they sponsored a charity event in the name of “Taiwan Ambassador to Nigeria”.
Before the event, they put up some billboards along the main road of Abuja showcasing the pictures of the so-called “Taiwan Ambassador to Nigeria” together with the pictures of the Nigerian Vice President Professor Osinbanjo and Hon. Minister of Women Affairs & Social Development Alhassan without their knowledge or consent to attend.
All these actions are flagrant provocation to Nigeria’s consistent position on adherence to one China policy. In general diplomatic practice, only recognized group states can accredit diplomatic missions and consular missions to each other. Under no circumstances is a constitutive province of a sovereign state is itself recognized.
The presence of the “Taipei Trade Office” in Nigeria, the manner it operates in Nigeria clearly lays bare that Taiwan was maneuvering to be an “independent and sovereign country” and was attempting to create the impression that the Government of Nigeria has recognized it as such.
Unfulfilled promises to resolve the Taiwan Issue by past Nigeria’s administrations
Since the above-mentioned issue emerged, China has lodged serious representations with the Nigerian Government persistently. The Nigerian side has pledged to resolve this issue thoroughly several times.
In 1997, the then Nigerian Head of State Mr. Abacha pledged to resolve the Taiwan issue during the visit of Chinese Premier Li Peng’s visit to Nigeria.
On May 17, 2004, President Obasnajo issued the directive to close down the operations of the “Trade Mission of the ROC (Taiwan) in Nigeria”, while the Nigerian side promised again to remove this political barrier hindering the furtherance of Nigeria-China relations.
In April, 2006 just before the commencement of the state visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Nigeria, President Obasanjo issued another directive to relocate the “Taipei Trade Office outside Abuja.
However, the Taipei Trade Office” was re-open immediately after the Chinese President’s departure.
In 2007, President Yar’Adua promised to look into the Taiwan Issue with a view to resolving the issue when meeting Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the G8 Summit in Germany.
In January, 2010, the One China Committee inside the Nigerian Ministry of issued of building trust, the international community had embraced one China and China is a member of the United Nations and we don’t want to leave any doubts on the issue.
Nigeria would adhere to it completely and there is no ambiguity at all. Nigeria as a nation would do everything to realize the One China Policy as well as any effort that would promote the peace and wellbeing of the People’s Republic of China.”
The delay of the complete and comprehensive resolution
It has been almost one year since the state visit of President Buhari to China and two months since the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Nigeria.
Nevertheness, the “Taipei Trade Office” is still desperately trying to operate in Abuja as before, and even worse, proactively publicizing their events on the mainstream media in the name of the “Trade Mission of Taiwan” and recently invited some members of the National Assembly to visit Taiwan.
The “Taipei Trade Office” claim that they are promoting trade but they are unable to make their story plausible as to why they refuse to relocate to Lagos, the largest commercial city, and try to linger in Abuja, the political center. They are lobbying very hard and playing tricks deliberately to make trouble, undermine the authority of the Nigerian Government and turn Nigeria’s solemn promise into empty talk. Their delaying tactics should not have their way and the history of delay should not be repeated.
To keep China one, as important as to keep Nigeria one, is a task done. China’s resolve against “Taiwan Independence” is not different from Nigeria’s hostility to separatist movements.
In this vein, the existence of the “Taipei Trade Office” in Abuja will not only continue to damage Nigeria-China strategic partnership, but also pose a serious threat to Nigeria’s national interest and security.
Joint Communique Between the people’s republic of china and the federal republic of Nigeria (2002) (Abuja, 15 April 2002)
At the invitation of President Obasanjo of the federal republic of Nigeria, President Jiang Zemin of the People’s Republic of China paid a state visit to Nigeria from 14 to 16 April, 2002.
During the visit the two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the furtherance of bilateral relations and as well as regional and international issues of common interest.