Burkina Faso has cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the foreign ministry said on Thursday, following intense Chinese pressure on African countries to break with what it regards as a wayward province.
Taiwan now has only one diplomatic-ally left in Africa – the tiny kingdom of Swaziland – and formal relations with just 18 countries, many of them poor nations in Central America and the Pacific.
The foreign ministry’s statement made no direct mention of China, but said “the evolution of the world and the socio-economic challenges of our country and region push us to reconsider our position”.
Taiwanese and Chinese officials had no immediate comment.
China is Africa’s largest trade partner, with massive investments in mining, construction and banking, although it has been less active to date in Burkina.
In March China said it was in the best interests of self-ruled Taiwan’s allies to recognize an “irresistible trend” and ditch Taipei in favor of “one China” ruled by Beijing.
Burkina is the fifth country to cut ties with Taiwan since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen Tsai came to office in 2016, following the Dominican Republic, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe and Panama.
The Vatican is possibly next, as the Holy See and China edge closer to an accord on the appointment of bishops there.
Taiwan says the Republic of China, its official name, is a sovereign country with the right to develop relations with other countries.