PRETORIA:His Excellency Lin Songtian, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China(PRC) to South Africa said under strict conditions, his country will approve visas for certain eSwatini citizens, pending the highly anticipated diplomatic talks between the two countries.
The Chinese Ambassador disclosed this during an interview with Swaziland News and other highly regarded journalists conducted at his residence here in Pretoria, South Africa on Monday afternoon, where issues surrounding the ‘diplomatic’ tension between the two countries were discussed at length. Responding to questions on the matter, the Ambassador said it was not the intention of his country to isolate the Kingdom of eSwatini particularly businesspeople, but the refusal by King Mswati to abide by the United Nations Resolution 2758 of 1971 and maintain the diplomatic relations with Taiwan while eSwatini continues to benefit from their large market was not fair for the Chinese people.
The Ambassador consistently maintained that Taiwan was part of China adding that diplomatic relations between the island and eSwatini amounts to transgression of international law, he warned of serious consequences should government delay to address the matter.
“As part of our demonstration that we are committed to engage eSwatini on this diplomatic matter, we will process visas for eSwatini citizens but there would be strict conditions. Any person applying for the visa will have to fill a form and explain clearly why he or she wants to visit China and if we are satisfied with the reasons, we will approve the visa. However, it will now be one-visa for one-trip. We are just demonstrating our commitment to engage eSwatini on this diplomatic matter, but it won’t be too long before we completely stop approving the visas if your country continues to hold on to Taiwan” said the Ambassador.
The Chinese Ambassador said despite being a world super-power with all the capacity to successfully frustrate or isolate eSwatini, his country has been patient hoping that authorities of the Kingdom will understand that “there’s only one China and Taiwan was part of the PRC”.
The Ambassador further mentioned that he was aware that the Taiwan-eSwatini diplomatic relations was benefiting only one man adding that his country was more concerned about venturing into projects that will benefit the people. He said the mere fact that eSwatini opted to recognise Taiwan as a country was not only in complete violation of the UN Resolution but amounts to interference in China’s domestic affairs.
“This amounts to interference in our home affairs, there is only one China in the world, but you choose to recognize only one-part of China. Now, eSwatini is the last and the only country in Africa with the so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan and those relations are not in the best interest of the people of eSwatini. This is why the African Union(AU) Summit cannot be held in your country because those African countries are friends of China and if they go there to appreciate the so-called Taiwan authorities, they would be betraying China. I don’t think our friendly countries in the continent will ever go there, this is why the AU decided to shift the Summit from eSwatini to South Africa” he said.
The Ambassador said it was surprising that despite that China was the second largest trading partner of eSwatini, the Kingdom had been staggering to cement diplomatic relations with the PRC.
“The Chinese people are not happy about this because every country, big or small, we need to have that mutual diplomatic respect and as China we are ready for talks. We are waiting for your King and government. We are ready for talks,we don’t want to isolate eSwatini” the Ambassador emphasized.
Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian being interviewed by journalist Zweli Martin Dlamini