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A year ago the number of Chinese air patrols off Taiwan's east coast quadrupled, and Beijing under President Xi Jinping has stepped up pressure on the island democracy to "reunify" with the motherland.

Taiwan split from mainland China amid civil in 1949, and Beijing campaigns relentlessly to isolate the island globally. In 2015, it also promised to directly invest $250 billion (€20.7 billion) in Latin American countries over the next 10 years.

President-elect Donald Trump caused controversy in 2016 when he spoke with President Tsai Ing-wen, breaking with long-term United States foreign policy set in 1979 when formal relations were cut.

Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told reporters in Taipei that China lured the Dominican Republic with money and the island would not bow to pressure from Beijing.

"However, history and the socioeconomic reality force us now to change direction", he explained.

China has yet to secure the jewel in Taiwan's diplomatic crown, Vatican City, despite reports of "relentless" attempt to improve relations on behalf of Taiwan's foreign ministry.

As the Dominican Republic cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and switched it recognition to Beijing, Taiwan vowed to defy this latest encroachment and said that Beijing's plot to deprive Taiwan of global space would only antagonize the Taiwanese people and fuel their resolve to resist. Later that year Beijing established ties with São Tomé and Príncipe after the island nation off the west coast of Africa broke with Taiwan.

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Liu expressed the protest of the Taiwan government against the Caribbean country for bowing to the enticement of Beijing's monetary assistance and thus ignoring the 77 years of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and the Dominican Republic.

Speaking in March, Wang said it was in the best interests of Taiwan's few remaining diplomatic allies to recognize an "irresistible trend" and ditch Taipei in favor "one China" ruled by Beijing.

Last year Panama switched from Taipei to Beijing, a move signaling that other countries in Central America and the Caribbean, where Taiwan counts several allies, could follow.

Taiwan "strongly condemns China's objectionable decision to use dollar diplomacy to convert Taiwan's allies", Wu said.

It cut off relations with Tsai's government shortly after she took office in 2016 and has been steadily ratcheting up both diplomatic and economic pressure.

Beijing has increasingly engaged in this tactic as well.

Beijing's actions have "unilaterally undermined the peaceful status quo across the strait and are not what a responsible member of the worldwide community should be doing", the statement said.


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