In the shadow of the human tragedy in Haiti, in a very discrete way, Taiwan and (the Peoples Republic of) China play diplomatic poker. Haiti is one of the 23 states in the world which do not recognise China and has diplomatic ties with Taiwan. But since 2004 a UN mission (‘Minustah’) works in Haiti to stabilise the country, China participates in this mission and has an important influence. Taiwan’s aid after the earthquake means helping an ally; China shows the same solidarity as the world did after the earthquake in its south-western Sichuan province in May 2009, which left nearly 90.000 people dead or missing. Beijing promised $ 4,2 million; Taipei responded with $ 5 million, doubled now to $ 10 million.
President Ma arrived in the Dominican Republic for a brief stop after attending the inauguration of Honduran President Porfirio Loba Sosa the previous day. In a ceremony at the Santa Domingo international airport to mark the delivery from Taiwan of 10 tons of disaster relief supplies for neighbouring Haiti, the Haitian Prim-Minister accepted the goods and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to President Ma. The relief goods, including medical supplies and food, were brought from Taiwan aboard Ma’s chartered flight and unloaded in the Dominican Republic capital for delivery to Haiti by road.
‘I insisted in making a less-than-three-hour stopover here not only to deliver the relief supplies but also to discuss assistance in follow-up rehabilitation operations’, Ma explained. He said that he held a three way meeting with Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez and Bellerive to discuss how to further help with post-disaster relief en resettlement work.