Guyana has retreated from an agreement with Taiwan for the island to establish an investment office in the former British colony in South America. Beijing described Guyana's decision as a mistake that must be corrected, and it was.
Guyana has diplomatic ties with China, and the agreement with Taiwan could have some implications for Guyana's growing oil sector, a senior Guyana government revealed.
In effect Chinese state-owned CNOOC unit Nexen has a 25% stake in the Exxon/Mobil operated Stabroek block that has landed Guyana on the global oil map. And some of Guyana's Liza crude is running in Chinese independent refineries in Shandong province.
The agreement with Guyana was concluded in January, Taiwan's foreign ministry said, but was not made public by either country. Taiwan deeply regrets and is disappointed by Guyana's unilateral decision to terminate the bilateral agreement that was made under pressure from the Chinese government, the foreign ministry said yesterday.
The agreement was reported by the US embassy in Guyana on 3 February.
The government has not established any diplomatic ties or relations with Taiwan and as a result of the miscommunication of the agreement signed, this agreement has since been terminated, Guyana's foreign ministry said yesterday.
The country continues to adhere to the one China policy and its diplomatic relations remain intact with the People's Republic of China.
The US embassy in Georgetown had said it applauded the agreement between Guyana and Taiwan to establish the investment office. The previous US administration last month imposed sanctions on CNOOC over the disputed South China Sea, a move Guyanese officials said at the time would not affect the company's operations in the country.
Guyana's about-face on Taiwan is the latest sign of Beijing's sway across resource-rich Latin America. The previous Dominican Republic government dropped diplomatic relations with Taiwan in April 2018 in favor of China, drawing Washington's ire.
Taiwan still has formal diplomatic relations with eight countries in the region - Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Nicaragua, Haiti, St Kitts-Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent.
But daring actions even without success can also come with a recommendation. Guyana Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hugh Todd confirmed that 20 000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine from China were approved for the country.0
Todd met with Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy Chen Xilai and he said the vaccines are expected to be shipped as soon as March. Todd said the vaccines will aid Government’s effort to combat COVID-19.
“China has made significant contributions to Guyana’s development since the establishment of diplomatic relations on June 27, 1972. This is evident from several programs, including the attachment of Chinese doctors to the nation’s hospitals as well as the implementation of a number of major infrastructural projects. This donation is another tangible demonstration of the importance of the bilateral relationship between Guyana and China,” a statement from the government said.
Guyana is among 38 countries that will receive the vaccine from Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned company.