Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington echoed the responses of CEO Andrews in that the funds are being channeled through the United Nations Development Program. The Minister of Foreign Affairs spoke of the upcoming visit of the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen who will be arriving in Belize on August sixteenth to eighteenth. This has caused a deep diplomatic frown by mainland China which has advised airlines not to allow Taiwan’s president access on the trip. China has a claim on Taiwan much as Guatemala has an unfounded claim on Belize. The relationship Belize has with Taiwan is at stake as China has been using dollar diplomacy to strip away Taiwan’s allies in the Caribbean and South America. We asked Minister Elrington if China is knocking at our doors.
Jose Sanchez: Belize is currently being courted by China to adapt the One China policy. Has any diplomatic or any sort of chance being used to contact the government of Belize to implement projects whether it’s in infrastructure, towards humanitarian efforts that will benefit our country. Is anything be offered?
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington: By the mainland Chinese no. No I am not aware of any offer being made and I would imagine certainly not through official channels. No we are not aware of anything like that.
Jose Sanchez: Because within the past year of the 20 or so 19 supporting countries Panama, Dominican Republic, basically have left that relationship with Taiwan. Dominica as we mentioned had 70 years of recognition that was suddenly halted on favor China because projects are now going to be implanted in those countries so they are now going after the Caribbean and Central America as well so we would assume that you would be on that list?
Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington: No that is not my thinking really and here if you would permit me I would like to give you my personal views. I am not speaking as Foreign Minister now but I am speaking as Wilfred Elrington. I have always been fearful of people who come bearing gifts so the mere fact that you are going to be giving me a gift or the mere fact that you are going to be offering me a gift will not induce me to in fact make any commitment to you. I have got to look at the bigger picture and my own experience and it is a bit disconcerting to me is that in the countries that have been accepting the aid from China. They have also been forced to accept a great many of the citizens of China and the citizens of China in those countries have now been supplanting a lot of the natives in the actives that they do so that they take over the little by waves shock and then take over the bakers bakery and they take over the pharmacy and they take over the shoe repairing jobs so that in some of the islands ; the locals, the natives are finding it absolutely difficult now to find employment because of the competition that they get from the citizens of mainland China who in fact come along with the gifts that those countries have been receiving so personally. I have looked at that and that has given me a great cause for pause in any thought that I may want to have or entertain in relation to doing anything with mainland China. I am very content and here I can say as Foreign Minister I am very content with the relationship we have with Taiwan. The nature of the relationship; they have been very generous to us in many areas.
Minister Elrington said that Taiwan offers Belize budget-support in the hundreds of millions. Unlike China, Elrington said that Taiwan does not force its citizens on countries as China does.