Taiwan’s Taipei Liaison Office released a statement on Thursday regarding the furore caused by Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga’s visit to Taipei.
Both the ANC and the department of international relations condemned his visit, with some in the ANC saying it could even amount to treason, as it contradicted government’s “One China” policy.
The DA responded that the South African government has enjoyed diplomatic relations with Taiwan for years and even has a liaison office in Taipei.
The Taipei Liaison Office counterpart in Pretoria, YY Hsu, director in the division of information and culture, said they had been “observing the recent debate regarding Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga’s visit to Taiwan”.
They pointed out that South Africa has actually had constructive engagements with Taiwan for years. They also pointed out that Taiwan and South Africa have had, and continue to have, a very significant economic relationship.
“We recall in a statement issued on the 27th of November 1996, former President Nelson Mandela said, ‘We will continue constructive relations with Taiwan.’ He further went on to say that the Republic of China on Taiwan had made a generous and much appreciated contribution to South Africa’s transition to democracy.
“Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China, is a peace-loving, democratic country, much the same as South Africa.
“The Taipei Liaison Office is responsible for maintaining and expanding bilateral economic, cultural, scientific, trade and other relations as to encourage visits and exchanges between South Africa and Taiwan.
“Currently there are around 800 Taiwanese factories and companies based in South Africa. They provide about 40 000 local jobs and approximately 25 billion rand of cumulative direct investment and approximately 20 billion rand in trade annually. Economic investment and trade remains the fundamental cornerstone between Taiwan and South Africa and every effort has to be made to grow and safeguard these relations for the benefit of the people of both nations.
“Executive Mayor Msimanga’s was invited on a fact-finding visit, on the basis of Taiwan and South Africa having above-mentioned long-standing, cordial relations.
“Taiwan’s doors are always open and we welcome any person to visit Taiwan to explore and discover new opportunities and experience the warmth and friendliness of the people.”