Dominican Rep. opens Beijing embassy after dropping Taiwan

BEIJING (AP) — The Dominican Republic opened its embassy in Beijing Saturday, months after cutting ties with Taiwan amid a Chinese diplomatic offensive that aims to politically isolate the island it claims as its own territory.

Speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Caribbean island nation’s decision to switch diplomatic relations to Beijing “serves the fundamental interests of the Dominican people and completely conforms to the trend of the times.”

Also present was Dominican President Danilo Medina, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday.

Both the Dominican Republic and El Salvador broke diplomatic ties with Taiwan earlier this year as Beijing steps-up up diplomatic and economic pressure on Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who has refused to endorse its stand that Taiwan is a part of China.

Only 17 mainly small, developing countries still recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation. Taiwan split from mainland China during a civil war in 1949. China considers the self-governing island to be part of its territory.

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