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President Tsai Ing-wen visits last African state that recognizes Taiwan's independence

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen


Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen is currently on a diplomatic visit to Eswatini, the country’s last remaining ally on the vast African continent. The southern African country is hardly a natural ally for democratic Taiwan: King Mswati III has ruled the landlocked country of 1.1 million with an iron fist since he assumed the throne in 1986 at age 18. It’s the region’s last absolute monarchy.

What’s Tsai doing there? Eswatini is one of just 13 remaining countries worldwide that has not ditched ties with Taiwan in favor of relations with China, which views the self-ruled territory as part of the mainland. Since Tsai took office in 2016, Beijing has coaxed nine countries into switching alliances, most recently Honduras, and continues to pressure other holdouts to follow suit.

Tsai’s trip – notably on the heels of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Africa – saw Taipei dole out $1 million in funds to the kingdom. And it comes ahead of Taiwan’s election in Jan. 2024, where Tsai’s VP William Lai is ahead in the polls. (Tsai is term limited.)


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