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Competing for friendship: the two Chinas and Saudi Arabia.

DURING THE PAST FOUR DECADES, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have competed for diplomatic recognition from Saudi Arabia. This competition ended on 22 July 1990 when Riyadh terminated forty-four years of formal relations with the Republic of China on Taiwan (ROC) and established diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China (PRC). This event was a major diplomatic setback for Taipei as Saudi Arabia had been one of few diplomatic allies of the ROC. Why did Riyadh suddenly switch its diplomatic recognition to Beijing--an athesistic and oppressive regime in Saudi eyes? What tactics did Taipei and Beijing use throughout these years to compete for Riyadh's friendship and what are the implications of this event for relations across the Taiwan Strait?

This study addresses these questions through an examination of relations between Saudi Arabia and the two Chinas. It demonstrates that the ending of the ROC-Saudi formal relations was a consequence of diplomatic initiatives from the PRC beginning in the late 1970s. Yet, this change of diplomatic ties had been long delayed due to shared anti-communist sentiments and strong political and economic relations between Taipei and Riyadh. Although this event signified a diplomatic victory for Beijing, it has increased mistrust across the Taiwan Strait and may hinder reunification of the two Chinas.


The two Chinas' Middle East policies have faithfully reflected their perception of national security. Each has had a different view on factors affecting its safety, and hence each adopted a different foreign policy on the Middle East. However, their policy goals converged in their long standing competition for the friendship of Saudi Arabia.

ROC's Middle East Policy

Since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, the Nationalist government of the ROC at Nanking has ruled Taiwan while the Communist government of the PRC controlled the Chinese mainland. The centerpiece of the ROC's foreign policy has been to survive the constant threat of the Chinese communists and to prevail against the PRC over which government represents China.(1) Due to its anti-communist stand, Taipei sought cover beneath the US political and military umbrella in a bipolar international system dominated by the two superpowers. The main goal of the ROC's foreign policy has thus been to improve and maintain relations with the US, and "leaning to one side" characterized the primary focus of Taipei's foreign policy for the following four decades.(2) By comparison, ROC's foreign policy in the Middle East was limited.(3) During the past three decades, only eight of the two dozen or so countries in the region had established diplomatic relations with Taipei(4) and through 1991, the ROC government had unofficial commercial offices in only eight countries in the region.(5) Within this framework of a limited Middle East policy, Taipei devoted much effort to maintaining official and unofficial relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The most compelling reason for Taipei's concentration on relations with Riyadh was economic necessity. Saudi Arabia is the largest oil supplier to the ROC and Taiwan's state-run Chinese Petroleum Company imports about forty percent of its oil from Saudi Arabia annually.(6) Since Taiwan has virtually no oil and little quality coal, petroleum from Saudi Arabia and other nations is an economic necessity. Thus, to ensure an ample supply, Taipei expended considerable effort to ingratiate itself with Riyadh.

A second reason for Taipei's active policy toward Riyadh lay in the fact that the Kingdom was one of the few countries in the world that officially recognized the ROC. Since 1949, both sides of the Taiwan Strait adopted a "one China" policy and each claimed for itself recognition as the sole legitimate government of China. Over the years the growing importance of the Communist regime in international affairs caused many countries to break relations with the ROC as a necessary condition for establishing formal ties with the PRC.(7) After the loss of its Security Council seat in the UN to Beijing in 1971, Taipei's international status declined precipitously. The ROC lost an important part of its national identity and was treated as nothing more than an international entity which is "a part of China." By 1979, when the US finally switched its recognition to the PRC, 121 nations recognized Beijing while those retaining relations with Taipei had dwindled to 25.(8) Saudi Arabia was an important member of the latter group and keeping those few remaining allies became the primary task for the Foreign Ministry in Taipei.

Thus, notwithstanding its emphasis on maintaining strong ties with Washington, relations with Saudi Arabia have been deemed crucial to national survival by the leaders in Taipei. As one observer noted, the ROC's Middle East policy can be characterized as "diplomacy with emphasis."(9)

PRC's Middle East Policy

Due to its physical control of the Chinese mainland, asserting its claim to represent the Chinese people is only one of many objectives for the PRC. Beijing's leaders have been more concerned with national security in a bipolar international system. Although right after its establishment in 1949, the PRC leaned to "the Soviet Big Brother" to resist "US imperialism," Beijing's leaders soon realized that the Soviet Union had become a threat to its national security. Beijing felt betrayed when Nikita Khrushchev called for peaceful coexistence with the West in 1956. This mistrust was deepened when the Brezhnev doctrine was announced in 1968. That doctrine affirmed the legitimacy of Soviet intervention in the affairs of members of the socialist camp.(10) Perceiving both the US and the Soviet Union as imperialist powers, the communist leaders in Beijing knew that they needed support from Third World countries to contest the superpowers. The PRC's Middle East policy reflected these considerations.(11)

Beijing's leaders saw the Middle East as a vital area for its national security not only because of its rich oil resources but also because of its strategic location at the crossroads of Asia, Africa and Europe. Control of this area by a hostile power would seriously endanger the PRC's national security. As a result, the main task of Beijing in the Middle East was to urge the local governments and national liberation movements to resist foreign intervention. This anti-imperialist and pro-revolutionary stand was clearly seen in the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence"(12) advocated by Zhou En-lai at the Bandung Conference in April 1955. It was also exemplified in the PRC's support, verbally and materially, of the Dhufar Liberation Front, the People's Front for the Liberation of the Occupied Arabian Gulf, and the Palestine Liberation Organization in the late 1960s.

It was not until the early 1970s, after the rapprochement between Beijing and Washington and the admission of the PRC to the UN, that Beijing's Middle East policy began to change. Preference was given to relations with established governments, while interest in revolution declined considerably. With the added political power of being a permanent member of the Security Council, the PRC established diplomatic ties with many Middle Eastern countries in the 1970s and 1980s. After Bahrain recognized Beijing in 1989, Saudi Arabia was the only Arab country that remained without diplomatic ties with the PRC.

Although perceiving Saudi Arabia as a reactionary, theocratic, and feudal

kingdom that was extremely hostile to communism, Beijing's leaders still hoped to win its goodwill for a number of reasons. In the early years, Beijing had particularly appreciated Riyadh's consistent absention on UN votes concerning the status of the PRC. Saudi Arabia neither condemned the Communist regime as an aggressor in Korea in 1951 nor supported the US-sponsored resolution to postpone consideration of any proposal to exclude Taiwan from the UN in 1953. Riyadh's dispute with Britain over the Buraymi Oasis and its refulsal to join regional alliances also won Beijing's appreciation. Chinese leaders considered Riyadh as pursuing an independent foreign policy and resisting imperialist aggression.

As the Soviet Union extended its military strength to Asia in the 1970s, Beijing appreciated Riyadh's role in actively opposing Soviet expansion. In a commentary in May 1981, Xinhua News Agency indicated that "... after the Afghan incident ... [Saudi Arabia] has resolutely opposed the Soviet intrusion into Afghanistan and advocated that the countries in the Gulf region unite to strengthen themselves and to resist foreign intrusion and intervention, effectively coordinating with the United States in checking Soviet aggression and expansion in the Gulf and Middle East region."(13) Moreover, since the early 1970s Beijing has been interested in improving relations with Washington and Riyadh's role as a trustworthy ally of the US increased the value of formal relations with the Saudis for the PRC. Riyadh thus fit into Beijing's strategic plan in the 1970s and 1980s of opposing Soviet expansion in the Middle East. Beginning in the late 1970s Beijing launched several offensives aimed at winning Riyadh's formal recognition.


It has been noted previously that the ROC's Middle East policy was limited in scope, but with an emphasis. That is, much of its effort has been devoted to maintaining official and unofficial ties with Saudi Arabia.

As early as 1965, the ROC sent agricultural missions to Saudi Arabia to demonstrate rice cultivation. An agreement on agricultural cooperation was signed in 1973 by the two governments under which a variety of assistance programs were provided by the ROC government during the following two decades. The assistance took the forms of irrigation, mechanized cultivation, soil, meteorology, crop rotation and fishing technology.(14) Since 1978, the ROC government also has provided technical assistance in the area of health care. Despite numerous difficulties, Taipei has provided doctors and nurses to staff many Saudi hospitals.(15)

Probably the most significant technical assistance has been in the industrial area.(16) Government-owned firms are active in Saudi Arabia. Ret-Ser Engineering Agency (RSEA), Taiwan's largest heavy construction company, extended its overseas work to Saudi Arabia in 1973 with the 110-kilometer Mecca to Hawiya highway. Other work soon followed including the US$100.4 million Shaar descent highway, the construction of an industrial park and sewage system at Yanbu, offshore and onshore work at Jeddah in the Saudi Naval Expansion Program, housing for the King Abd al-Aziz Military Academy and King Khaled Military City. For the ten-year period ending in 1984, RSEA had been awarded work valued at about US$1.3 billion. Another government-run firm, Bes Engineering Corporation, has also been involved in many Saudi contracts: infrastructure work on phase one of Riyadh's industrial estate, an office building for the Industry and Electricity Ministry, a section of the Jeddah-Mecca expressway and Riyadh's international airport. Taiwan Fertilizer Company, in a joint venture with the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, has set up the Al-Jubayl Fertilizer Company. The Taiwan Power Company (Taipower), which has maintained a mission attached to the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Electricity since 1975, has also provided the Saudis technical assistance and consultation.

Many of these projects were motivated more by political considerations than by economic reasons. A good example is the US$160 million Al-Baha electricity project carried out by Taipower, which amounted to virtual aid. As a high ranking official of Taipower indicated, "This is a government-to-government contract and we are losing money on it."(17) In return for the development assistance, Riyadh provided Taipei with low-interest loans from the Saudi Development Fund for infrastructural projects such as telecommunications, electricity and railway projects on the island.

Bilateral trade between the two countries also grew dramatically during this time. ROC imports from Saudi Arabia were almost entirely petroleum, but its exports were much more diverse, consisting of building materials and consumer goods such as garments, fabrics, footwear, and electronics. By 1982, the value of ROC imports from Saudi Arabia increased by twenty-five times compared to 1972, while ROC exports expanded by thirty-three times.

On the diplomatic front, the ROC government was very careful in its approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict. To avoid antagonizing Riyadh, Taipei refused to purchase Israeli-built Kfir fighter aircraft even though the ROC Air Force badly needed an upgraded replacement fighter for the outdated F-5E. When a report surfaced in 1982 that the ROC had entered into a secret treaty with South Africa, Israel, and some South American countries to form a "South Atlantic Pact," Taipei quickly denied it.(18) Moreover, the ROC government strongly supported the Saudi position on the Arab-Israeli conflict to appease Riyadh. In the Joint Communique issued in 1979 when Premier Yun-Suan Sun visited Saudi Arabia, Taipei "agree[d] to condemn the Israeli aggression on the Arab nation in general and on the Palestinian people in particular."(19)

Relations between the two countries steadily improved after the official visit of King Faysal to Taiwan in 1971 and substantial political contacts were developed during this period. The most significant events included the official visit of President C. K. Yen to Saudi Arabia in 1977 and that of Premier YunSuan Sun two years later at the invitation of Crown Prince Fahd, acting Head of State.(20) In addition, a Standing Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation (hereafter Joint Committee) was established in 1975 at the deputy ministerial level. The two countries met annually to coordinate their cooperative relations in agriculture, industry, electricity, health care, trade and communication. By 1979, the Joint Committee was upgraded to ministerial status, signifying an even closer relationship between Taipei and Riyadh. There was also an agreement on cultural and educational cooperation, which was signed in 1975 by the two governments.(21) In order to deal with this deepening relationship, the Saudi government decided to send a resident ambassador to the ROC in 1979 after Premier Sun's official visit.(22) In general, the period from 1970 until the early 1980s was the high point of ROC-Saudi relations and it was all the more impressive since it occurred at a time when Taipei had experienced many diplomatic setbacks in its quest for foreign recognition.


During the development of close ties with Riyadh, Taipei kept a watchful eye on Saudi Arabia's relations with the PRC. As noted, Beijing was eager to win Riyadh's friendship and in its approach to Saudi Arabia, the Communist government had adopted tactics used previously in both Africa and Latin America. These included unofficial and people-to-people contacts by sportsmen, journalists and, in the Saudi case, religious figures and businessmen to lay the groundwork for formal diplomatic relations.

Beijing's tolerance and encouragement of the revival of Islam in China was motivated initially by domestic considerations, but Islamic religious activities were soon used as tools to establish contacts with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.(23) This policy was clearly reflected in a Red Flag editorial which urged that the international exchanges in the religious field should "play their due role" of "developing friendly external relations."(24) Although the first Chinese hajj mission was admitted to Mecca in 1955, religious contacts between the PRC and Saudi Arabia were interrupted in the mid-1960s and did not resume until October 1979. Since then, Beijing has sent hajj missions to Mecca on a regular basis and in return, Saudi religious missions have also visited the PRC. The most significant event was the visit of the delegation from the Saudi-run World Islamic Organization to the Chinese mainland in 1981. A donation of US$500,000 was made by the delegation to the China Islamic Association to foster relations between the two countries.(25) These religious contacts had an important symbolic value in that they provided support for the PRC contention that the nature of the Chinese Communist regime was not fundamentally incompatible with a Muslim country like Saudi Arabia.

In addition to using religious missions for political purposes, Beijing also increased economic contacts with Riyadh. Indirect trade between the two countries has increased steadily since the late 1970s. After Riyadh lifted a long-standing ban on imports carrying made-in-China labels in 1981, the indirect trade became bilateral.(26) By the early 1980s, Saudi businessmen began privately attending the Canton Trade Fair.

Meanwhile, the PRC's unofficial offensives were accompanied by diplomatic moves. Like Taipei, Beijing condemned "Israeli aggression and expansion" as the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict and insisted that "peace in the Middle East never will become a reality without a settlement of the Palestinian problem."(27) When Crown Prince Fahd's eight-point peace plan (the Fez plan) was proposed, the PRC government warmly supported it. Xinhua News Agency quoted Fahd's statement that "if Israel withdraws from all the Arab territories it occupied in 1967, Saudi Arabia would do its utmost to bring the Arabs, including the Palestinians, to work with Israel for a comprehensive and ultimate settlement of the Middle East problem." The commentary praised Fahd's plan as comprised of "realistic and sound propositions" which showed "the Arab people's sincere desire for a peaceful settlement of the Middle East issue."(28)

Reacting to these determined PRC overtures, the Saudi government did not initially change its stand on recognizing the ROC on Taiwan as the sole legitimate Chinese government. However, Riyadh began to appreciate Beijing's growing role in international affairs, especially the PRC's permanent membership on the UN Security Council. The first official contact between the two occurred in October 1981 when PRC Premier Zhao Ziyang and Crown Prince Fahd met for the first time at the North-South conference held in Cancun, Mexico. A large photo of the two appeared on the front page of the Arab News(29) and as both men were high-ranking officials of their countries the event led to wide-spread expectation for change in Saudi-PRC relations. The October meeting was followed a year later by the visit of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Sa'ud al-Faysal to Beijing. He led a delegation of seven members of the Arab League to China to explain Arab issues, in particular the Palestinian problem and the Fez summit conference of the Arab states.(30) Although the Prince was officially only a member of an Arab delegation, his visit was significant in bilateral terms since he was the first Saudi minister to visit the PRC.

The increasing tempo of PRC-Saudi contacts caused serious concern in Taipei and the ROC government repeatedly pressured Riyadh to clarify its policy toward Beijing. After the Cancun Conference, the Saudi Interior Minister declared that his government would "never establish diplomatic ties with any communist nation as communist ideology is in fundamental conflict with Islam, which is the foundation of the Saudi Kingdom."(31) Probably the most important assurance came from King Fahd himself when the ROC Foreign Minister Chu Fu-sung attended King Khaled's funeral in June 1982. The Saudi King assured the ROC Minister that "Sino-Saudi friendship [is] built on a solid basis [that] will under no circumstances be changed."(32)

Despite these apparent setbacks, Beijing extended another unofficial diplomatic feeler at the end of 1984. On 9 August, Prince Talal of Saudi Arabia announced that at the invitation of the Chinese National Committee for the Defense of Children he would visit China in his capacity as special envoy to the UN Children's Fund. This ostensibly non-political visit was perceived by Taipei as quite the contrary due to comments made by Prince Talal and PRC Ambassador Ling Qin, a permanent representative of Beijing to the UN. Commenting on the prospect of bilateral relations between the two countries, the Prince hinted that his visit could be the start of PRC-Saudi relations. He said: "The relations between the United States and China were started by a team of Ping Pong, wasn't that true?" Ambassador Ling Qin also made it clear that, "On the Chinese part, China would like to normalize or establish diplomatic relations with any countries on the principles of peaceful coexistence. Certainly that includes Saudi Arabia."(33)

These announcements constituted a serious threat to the ROC government and Taipei immediately cabled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia to clarify the matter. In reply, Riyadh said that the visit to other countries by Prince Talal in his capacity as an official of a UN organization had nothing to do with the Saudi government which "will never change its policy of maintaining friendly relations with the Republic of China."(34) On 6 November, Beijing announced that Prince Talal was "unable to proceed with his visit to China" due to "sudden and pressing family circumstances."(35)


Although the various contacts between Beijing and Riyadh in the early 1980s did not generate a political breakthrough, they increased in the subsequent three years as more official and unofficial contacts were carried out between the two countries. In November 1985, the PRC Vice Premier Yao Yilin met the Saudi first Deputy Prime Minister while he was visiting Oman. PRC sources said that the meeting was "cordial" and "marked a new page in the annals of [the] relationship between China and Saudi Arabia."(36) A few days later, a Chinese hajj mission was received by the Saudi Deputy Minister of Defense and Aviation, Prince 'Abd al-Rahman. It was reported that both sides expressed the desire for further economic, cultural and religious cooperation and exchanges.(37) Economic relations also had intensified during this three-year period as PRC exports to Saudi Arabia almost doubled from US$133 millions in 1985 to US$227 millions in 1988. A Saudi trade delegation visited the Chinese mainland in November 1986, and was received by then PRC Premier Zhao Ziyang. The PRC Premier complimented the Saudi government by saying that "China appreciates the neutral and non-aligned policy pursued by Saudi Arabia and its role in safeguarding Arab unity, and supporting the cause of the Palestinian people and the just struggle of the Afghan and Kampuchean peoples."(38) In return, Beijing sent a delegation of entrepreneurs to visit Saudi Arabia the following year.(39)

Probably the most significant event in the evolving relationship was a secret missile deal negotiated between Beijing and Riyadh. According to diplomatic sources, the PRC "had agreed in principle to sell the missiles in July 1985" to the Saudi government when Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi Ambassador to Washington, negotiated the deal in Beijing.(40) On the eve of PRC Foreign Minister Wu Xueqian's visit to Washington in 1988, the Saudis received an unspecified number of Chinese made CSS-2 intermediate-range ballistic missiles.(41) Commenting on this arms sale, Wu said that "China wishes to establish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia as soon as possible since relations between the two countries have developed in various fields in recent years."(42)

The ROC government reacted angrily, the ROC Foreign Minister Frederick Chien in Taipei blaming the US for having "started it all" by forcing Saudi Arabia to buy missiles from the PRC.(43) The Saudi missile acquisition was related to the Iran-Iraq war as Riyadh, a supporter of Iraq, felt threatened by the Islamic revolution formulated and spread by the Khomeini regime. Saudi Arabia badly wanted to buy medium- and long-range missiles to deter possible Iranian attacks and in 1985, after its request to purchase advanced arms was denied by the US Congress, Riyadh turned to Beijing.(44) The PRC particularly welcomed this arms deal because it had the potential of "killing two birds with one stone." That is, the sale of missiles to Saudi Arabia would not only help the PRC financially but also would simultaneously "sabotage" relations between Taipei and Riyadh.

As Riyadh deepened its exchanges with Beijing, ROC-Saudi relations initially appeared to suffer little change for the worse. Official visits continued and the ninth and tenth sessions of the ROC-Saudi Joint Committee were held as scheduled.(45) However, political contacts between Taipei and Riyadh soon declined precipitously. According to the Taipei press, the ROC's new ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Kuan Yung, did not see the king at all in taking up his post in 1986 and only saw the Saudi foreign minister "one and a half times" during the following two years.(46) In another ominous move, King Fahd declined to send a delegation to the ROC National Day celebrations in 1988, breaking a long standing precedent.(47) Rumors about Riyadh establishing ties with Beijing were rampant and contrary to previous practices, the Saudi government did not clarify these rumors to calm Taipei's fears. Instead, Riyadh kept silent and when asked to respond to a Washington Post report that Saudi Arabia was moving toward establishing diplomatic ties with the PRC, the director of the Embassy's Information Office in Washington said he could not "confirm or deny" the story.(48)

On 13 October 1988, King Fahd sent Prince Bandar as a special envoy to the PRC where he was received by Zhao Ziyang, then General Secretary of the Communist Party. Zhao told his guest that "no conflicts of interest exist between China and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the two countries share identical views on many major international issues. They also have many aspects in common in their economic construction. Expanding bilateral relations not only conforms with the fundamental interests of the two peoples but is also conducive to peace and stability in the world." He continued: "China is willing to further strengthen and promote friendship and cooperation with Saudi Arabia in all spheres on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence." In response, Prince Bandar indicated that Saudi Arabian leaders admired Beijing's foreign policy and "wish to further promote friendship and cooperation with China."(49)

One month after the meeting between Bandar and Zhao, on 12 November, Riyadh decided to exchange trade offices with Beijing to "further develop the friendly relations and cooperation" between the two nations in the economic and commercial fields.(50) For Riyadh "the step is not new," an editorial commented, "it is in fact an extension of deep-rooted trade and economic relations between the peoples of the Kingdom and the PRC."(51) For Beijing the exchange of trade offices was the first official step toward establishing diplomatic ties with Riyadh. Han Xu, the PRC representative signing the memorandum of understanding with Prince Bandar to establish the trade offices, commented that "the purpose of all this is to achieve the normalization of their relations .... By making joint efforts, the two countries can make the

relations between China and Saudi Arabia a model of friendship and cooperation between countries with different social systems and beliefs."(52)


Taipei viewed the exchange of trade offices between the PRC and Saudi Arabia as having great significance for the future of Saudi-ROC relations. The ROC government saw three possible scenarios for the future development of relations among Taipei, Riyadh and Beijing.(53) The first scenario would be a continuation of the status quo, i.e., Riyadh maintaining official diplomatic ties with Taipei but with unofficial relations with Beijing. For ROC officials, this was the best scenario that they could hope for--the longer the status quo the better. The increasing tempo of contacts between the PRC and Saudi Arabia, however, had made it clear that this preferred scenario had little or no future. Taipei knew that the issue of "different social systems and beliefs" was no longer a barrier to Beijing and Riyadh's relations. After the exchange of trade offices, the question became not whether there would be diplomatic ties between Beijing and Riyadh but when.

The second possible development would be that Riyadh would officially recognize the Communist regime without breaking diplomatic ties with Taipei. This was the second best scenario for Taipei but would not be accepted by Beijing because the PRC leaders had always insisted on recognition of the PRC as the "sole legal government of China" as the quid pro quo for the establishment of diplomatic relations with Beijing. If there were to be a diplomatic breakthrough between Riyadh and Beijing, it would surely mean that official ties between the ROC and Saudi Arabia would be terminated.

The third scenario was a total reversal of the triangular relations--the establishment of diplomatic ties between the PRC and Saudi Arabia with the ROC organ in Riyadh becoming a commercial office. For Taipei, a total reversal in the triangular relations among Taipei, Riyadh and Beijing would mean the loss of a Middle Eastern ally which was important in political as well as economic terms. Judging by the increasing exchanges between Beijing and Riyadh, it appeared that this would soon occur no matter what the ROC did.

Under the circumstances, ROC officials decided to maintain the status quo for as long as possible. Saudi Arabia was apparently not yet ready to openly break off its special political and economic relationship with the ROC and it appeared that Riyadh might want to find a diplomatic formula acceptable to all parties concerned. Both Taipei and Riyadh maintained the appearance of "business as usual" and only a month after the exchange of trade offices by Beijing and Riyadh, Taipei announced plans to send a trade mission to Saudi Arabia and to set up a distribution warehouse in Dammam to promote the sale of Taiwan's products in Saudi Arabia.(54) The following year, Saudi Arabia invited the ROC to establish a trade office in Dhahran to further promote bilateral economic and trade relations between the two countries.(55) To show the traditional friendship between the two countries, the eleventh session of the ROC-Saudi Joint Committee was held as usual in Taipei. Both sides joined in an agreement to study the feasibility of joint ventures in crude oil transportation, computers, shipbuilding and TV broadcasting in Saudi Arabia.(56)

On the diplomatic front, the ROC government, led by Foreign Minister Lien Chan, began to quote Saudi officials as saying that the Kingdom had assured Taipei that "Communist Chinese actions in Saudi Arabia will not affect traditional ROC-Saudi ties." They emphasized that relations and friendship between the ROC and Saudi Arabia were "cordial" and would "continue to grow" and that diplomatic relations between Riyadh and Beijing were, in the end, not possible because "the Moslem country staunchly opposes communism which advocates atheism."(57)

While Taipei aimed at extending the status quo, Beijing's strategy was to keep applying pressure. Beijing's first goal was to acquire diplomatic status for its trade office in Riyadh. The PRC government was unhappy with the Saudi plan to locate its trade office inside the local industry and commerce chamber in Riyadh and demanded that it be located in the same western outskirts where other diplomatic missions were located. Beijing wanted its trade office to look like other diplomatic missions, apart from the absence of its national flag.(58) Meanwhile, Beijing's economic and religious contacts continued. A high-level economic and trade delegation visited the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh, for a week before it left for other industrial cities.(59) Two Muslim missions made the pilgrimage to Mecca in a period of less than a year. One of the missions reached Mecca by a charter plane of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)--the first Chinese mission to visit Mecca carried by a CAAC airplane.(60) This led to a report that the PRC and Saudi Arabia had exchanged protocols on navigation rights.(61)

Probably the most important economic offensive launched by Beijing was its monetary "buy out" of Riyadh. After Riyadh spent US$3.5 billion on the Chinese made CSS-2 missile, Beijing launched satellites for Saudi Arabia worth US$3.1 billion. The two deals totaled US$6.6 billion and Beijing paid out a 10 percent of the rebate (i.e., US$660 million) in addition to a US$50 million reimbursement. The total amount of US$710 million was twice as much as Taipei's annual diplomatic budget, an example of the discrepancy in size between the ROC and its giant antagonist.(62)

Beijing launched a secret diplomatic effort in late 1989 and early 1990 to hasten the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In late December 1989, during his visit to Cairo, with the help of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, PRC President Yang Shangkun secretly met with a special envoy of Saudi Arabia. It was reported that negotiations on the establishment of official relations between the two countries was the main subject of this meeting. On 11 May 1990, Egyptian President Mubarak visited Beijing and passed messages between the PRC and Saudi Arabia. The tone for the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries was finally set.(63)

On 17 July, a week after Prince Bandar visited Beijing, the Saudi government sent a special envoy to Taipei informing the ROC government that Riyadh had decided to "open diplomatic ties with Beijing and demanded the downgrading of the Taipei and Riyadh embassies to (unofficial) representative offices."(64) Taipei's initial response was to express its willingness to continue the official relations with Riyadh but when it realized that a break-up was inevitable, it filed a strong protest and suspended diplomatic relations with Riyadh on 22 July. The PRC had achieved its goal and established formal ties with Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh's decision to finally have formal ties with Beijing had not been accidental as possible political and military gains provided strong incentives for Riyadh to switch its diplomatic recognition to Beijing. First, Saudi Arabia has been a supporter of the Palestinian people in their struggle against Israel and perceived no possible peace without settlement of the Palestinian problem.(65) Facing a strong pro-Israel lobby in the US, Saudi leaders wanted to garner as much support from other countries as possible. Over the years, Beijing had forcefully supported Riyadh's position on the Palestinian issue and as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the PRC would have considerable leverage to help the Saudi government pressure Israel. Second, Saudi Arabia also hoped to preclude the future development of closer ties between the PRC and Israel.(66) Although Beijing had been very critical of Tel Aviv in the early years, especially on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the PRC government took a moderate and pragmatic stand toward Israel in the 1980s. Beijing had finally begun normalizing ties with Israel in 1989 and a possible PRC-Israel rapprochement was viewed as a threat to Saudi interests that the establishment of formal ties with the PRC might deter.(67) Third, the sale of missiles to the Kingdom in 1988 suggested that Beijing might provide a reliable source of strategic weapons to Riyadh, thus bypassing the strong pro-Israel lobby on Capitol Hill that had blocked US sales. The PRC as an aggressive new arms salesman in the Middle East could fulfill Saudi security needs and in supplying them might be persuaded to forgo sales to area rivals such as Iran.

There were no costs for the Saudi government in establishing diplomatic ties with Beijing. Observers have indicated that there is an important ideological component in Saudi Arabia's foreign policy: a strong defense of Islam.(68) Beijing's use of Islamic religious activities as tools to establish contacts with Arab countries had proven effective in fundamentally changing the Saudi perception of the inherent incompatibility between Islam and commnnism. Commenting on the establishment of the formal ties between Riyadh and Beijing, a Saudi editorial said that "China has moved toward Muslims and allowed them to perform their rites without any pressure or ideological rigidity, and it maintains distinctive stances toward the Arabs and their causes and gives precedence to its interests over its ideological requirements." Accordingly, Saudi Arabia "was prompted to regard these practices as a realistic factor for establishing these relations between the two countries with a view to placing them in their sound and positive context."(69) Moreover, switching diplomatic recognition to Beijing would not mean an end to the substantive relationship between Taipei and Riyadh. For the reasons mentioned in the first section of this study, it was clear to the Saudis that Taipei needed them more than they needed Taipei. Thus, a rational calculation by the Saudi leaders clearly favored changing diplomatic recognition to better meet Riyadh's national interests.

It has to be noted that there were no harsh words in Taipei's diplomatic circles when Riyadh decided to switch its recognition to Beijing, compared to the hostile response toward South Korea when Seoul decided to establish diplomatic ties with the PRC two years later.(70) In part, it was because the termination of ROC-Saudi diplomatic ties was expected by Taipei. The main reason, however, was that Riyadh had paid particular attention to keeping Taipei's dignity intact when it informed the latter of its decision. Unlike South Korea's sudden switch without any advance notice, Riyadh sent a special envoy to Taipei before the formal notification was presented to the ROC government.(71) This delay in formal notification allowed the ROC government to act first in suspending its diplomatic ties with Riyadh a few hours before the formal announcement of Riyadh's switch to Beijing.(72) This also obviated Riyadh's appearing to have to accede to PRC demands to break relations with Taipei before formal relations could be established with Beijing.

During their stay in Taipei, Saudi government officials expressed the view that the decision to establish diplomatic ties with Beijing had been a painful one for them. They repeatedly expressed the Saudi government's intention to uphold close ties with the ROC after the change in recognition and expressed hope that the mutually beneficial cooperative programs between the two countries would continue.(73) Riyadh had shown its sincerity by meeting all of Taipei's desires that it could under the circumstances. On the matter of oil supply, Riyadh informed the Chinese Petroleum Corporation in Taipei a month later that it would continue to supply oil at the current level. This was greatly appreciated by Taipei as a stable oil supply was crucial to the island's economic growth and stability.(74) On the matter of substantive relations, the ROC Foreign Minister Chien pledged to seek an institutional format that would sustain both the ROC's dignity and maintain future ties between Taipei and Riyadh.(75) When the accord was finally reached, Riyadh agreed that ROC missions in Saudi Arabia would continue to occupy and operate from their original premises and would still enjoy diplomatic privileges. Unlike many ROC representative offices abroad, the full title of the office in Riyadh was the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office."(76) The appearance of "Taipei" and "Representative" as part of the title of the ROC presence in Saudi Arabia is especially significant to Taipei since they signify their semi-official nature.(77) A former Saudi ambassador characterized this change of ROC-Saudi relations as becoming, in the end, simply "a matter of a name change."(78)


The above survey suggests that Riyadh's decision to switch its recognition to Beijing was a direct consequence of various offensives by the PRC. Beijing's tactic of using religious activities to change Saudi attitudes on the incompatibility issue was very important. Indeed, if it had not been for the Saudi leaders' perception of ideological differences between Riyadh and Beijing, ROC-Saudi diplomatic ties would have ended even earlier. Once the PRC had succeeded in changing Riyadh's view (that different social systems and beliefs were incompatible with each other), the establishment of formal relations between the two countries became inevitable. Moreover, establishing formal ties with Beijing serves major political and military interests of Riyadh. The losing battle fought by the ROC government in the diplomatic front suggests that it simply did not have the political and economic assets needed to successfully compete with the PRC for Saudi Arabia's formal recognition.

However, the establishment of diplomatic ties between Beijing and Riyadh has negative implications for relations across the Taiwan Strait. Since the Nationalist Party retreated to Taiwan in 1949, the Communist government has been eager to isolate Taipei in the international arena with the expectation that the latter would lose its national identity and facilitate reunification with the Chinese mainland. Over the years, Beijing's strategy has been successful. The number of Taipei's allies dropped significantly in the 1970s and 1980s and the ROC was expelled from many international organizations, including the UN. The termination of ROC-Saudi diplomatic relations signified the beginning of Taipei's loss of its last few allies. Indeed, only two years after Saudi Arabia changed its diplomatic recognition, South Korea followed suit and established formal ties with Beijing. It is expected that the relationship between the ROC and South Africa--Taipei's last major ally--will also change in the near future.

Beijing's continued efforts to isolate Taipei in the international arena has aroused great resentment in Taiwan. Many have begun to openly question Taipei's one-China policy. A radical view for changing the ROC's diplomatic focus has come from the opposing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Since its inception in 1986 the DPP has pushed for a Taiwan independence movement. In 1991, the DPP added a "one-China, one-Taiwan" plank to its platform, dropping all claims to territory across the Taiwan Strait and declaring the island an independent state. Taipei's diplomatic setbacks have provided an excellent rationale for the DPP's advocacy of Taiwan's independence. It is argued that since "the Republic of China" has ceased to be an internationally recognized state, Taiwan should establish its national identity under the title of "the Republic of Taiwan."(79)

Although the DPP's call for Taiwan independence went down to defeat in the December election of 1991, its questioning of Taipei's "one-China" policy is now shared by many members of the ruling Nationalist Party. As one Nationalist legislator said, "Basically, I think 'one China' is ... an historic, cultural, and traditional China, not the China of today."(80) Beijing's strategy had been to isolate Taipei internationally so as to facilitate Taiwan's eventual reunification with the mainland but the PRC's diplomatic victory may actually result in pushing Taiwan in an entirely different direction: that of declaring its independence.


(1.)For a discussion of the ROC foreign policy since 1949, see Yu San Wang, "Foundation of the Republic of China's Foreign Policy," in Yu San Wang, ed., Foreign Policy of the Republic of China on Taiwan: An Unorthodox Approach (N.Y.: Praeger, 1990), pp. 1-12.

(2.)For a survey of ROC-US relations, see Peter Kien-hong Yu, "The Republic of China and the United States: Official Relations Prior to 1979," and Szu-yin Ho, "The Republic of China's Policy Toward the United States: 1979-1989," in Yu San Wang, ed., ibid., pp. 13-28, 29-44. Also see, Martin L. Lasater, Policy in Evolution: The U.S. Role in China's Reunification (Boulder: Westview Press, 1989); Ramon H. Myers, ed., A Unique Relationship: the United States and the Republic of China Under the Taiwan Relations Act (Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1989).

(3.)For an examination of the ROC's Foreign policy on the Middle East, see Tzong-ho Bau, "The Policy of the Republic of China toward the Middle East," in Yu San Wang, ed., ibid., pp. 101-121.

(4.)These eight countries are: Cyprus, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

(5.)These eight countries are: Bahrain, Cyprus, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

(6.)See Andrew Tanzer, "The Saudi Connection," Far Eastern Economic Review (hereafter FEER), 9 July 1982, pp. 28-29; Taipei International Service, 22 August 1990, in Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Daily Report-China (hereafter FBIS-CHI), 23 August 1990, p. 56.

(7.)See Hungdah Chiu, "The International Legal Status of The Republic of China," Chinese Yearbook of International Law and Affairs, v.8 (1988-1989), pp. 1-19.

(8.)At the end of 1960, 41 countries had diplomatic relations with the PRC, while the ROC had 56 allies around the world.

(9.)Tzong-ho Bau, "The Policy of the Republic of China toward the Middle East," p. 102.

(10.)Ya-Chun Chang, "Peking's Foreign Policy Since 1949 - A Struggle for Autonomy," Issues and Studies, v. 25, no. 10 (October 1989), pp. 40-59.

(11.)The following discussion of the PRC's Middle East policy is based upon: John Calabrese, China's Changing Relations with the Middle East (London: Printer Publishers, 1991); Yitzhak Shichor, The Middle East in China's Foreign Policy 1949-1977 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979); Yitzhak Shichor, East Wind Over Arabia: Origins and Implications of the Sino-Saudi Missile Deal (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, 1989).

(12.)The "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence" refer to mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, nonaggression, noninterference in internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. See Chinyuan Peng, ed., The Documentation of the Forty-Year Achievements of the People's Republic of China: 1949-1989 (in Chinese) (Shen-yang Publishing Co., 1989), p. 67.

(13.)He Li, "Why Does the West Rely So Heavily on Saudi Arabia?" Renmin Ribao, 15 May 1981, p. 7, in FBIS-CHI, 19 May 1981, p. I1-I2.

(14.)See Editorial, "The Retrospect and Prospect of the ROC-Saudi Economic and Technical Cooperation," Sino-Arabian Association Bulletin (in Chinese) (hereafter SAAB), no. 3, 20 May 1976, pp. 3-6; Shi-jei Huang, "The Achievements of Our Agricultural Mission in Saudi Arabia," SAAB, no. 51, 20 May 1984, p. 10; Wan-chun Shu, "Reports on ROC-Saudi Agricultural and Fishery Cooperation," SAAB, no. 54, 20 November 1984, pp. 36-48.

(15.)For the many problems encountered by ROC medical missions, see Chikang Chang, "The ROC-Saudi Medical Cooperation," SAAB, no. 21, 20 May 1979, pp. 7-8; Department of Health, "The Procedure and the Current Situation of Our Medical Missions to Saudi Arabia," SAAB, no. 48, 20 November 1983, pp. 55-59; Zen Huei, "The Problems of the ROC-Saudi Medical Diplomacy," SAAB, no. 81, 20 May 1989, p. 22. For a historical description on ROC medical missions to Saudi Arabia, see Si-kuang Ting, "Summarized Report on the ROC-Saudi Medical Cooperation," SAAB, no. 47, 20 September 1983, pp. 42-45.

(16.)This section is based on the following: Kuan-shih Chang, "The Achievements of the ROC-Saudi Economic Cooperation," SAAB, no. 11, 20 September 1977, pp. 3-5; Yun-suan Sun, "The ROC-Saudi Economic Cooperation," SAAB, no. 15, 20 May 1978, pp. 3-8; Kuan-shih Chang, "The ROC-Saudi Economic and Technical Cooperation," SAAB, no. 23, 20 September 1979, pp. 3-6; Editorial, "The ROC-Saudi Cooperation in Expansion," SAAB, no. 19, 20 January 1979, pp. 3-4; Da-Ho Huang, "Al-Jubayl Fertilizer Company: One of the Achievements of the ROC-Saudi Cooperation," SAAB, no.45, 20 May 1983, pp. 10-15; Hsiang-shang Liu, "The Overall Condition of the ROC-Saudi Economic and Technical Cooperation," SAAB, no. 52, 20 July 1984, pp. 21-24; Richard Breeze, "Taiwan's Saudi Contracts Counter China's Diplomatic Moves," Middle East Economic Digest (hereafter MEED), 27 July 1979, pp. 8-10; D. Elley, "Taiwan Builds on its Middle East Success," MEED, 18 September 1981, pp. 33-34; Andrew Tanzer, "The Saudi Connection," FEER, 9 July 1982, pp. 28-29; M. Roth, "Taiwan Looks to Increase Middle East Trade," MEED, 4 May 1984, p. 7.

(17.)Richard Breeze, "Taiwan's Saudi Contracts Counter China's Diplomatic Moves," p. 8.

(18.)Taipei International Service, 13 April 1982, in FBIS-CHI, 15 April 1982, p. V1.

(19.)"Taiwan Premier Holds Press Conference on Talks, Accords: Joint Communique," Riyadh Domestic Service, 18 September 1979, in FBIS, Middle East & North Africa Report (hereafter FBIS-MENA), 19 September 1979, p. C5.

(20.)Ibid., pp. C3-C5; Andrew Tanzer, "The Saudi Connection."

(21.)See Chan-hsing Yen, "The ROC-Saudi Educational Cooperation," SAAB, no. 28, 20 July 1980, pp. 3-4; Su-chan Li, "The ROC-Saudi Cultural and Educational Cooperation," SAAB, no. 44, 20 March 1983, pp. 13-15.

(22.)Previously the Saudis had an embassy in Taipei, but the ambassador was concurrently the Kingdom's envoy to Japan and kept his residence in Tokyo. See, "Resident Saudi Envoy," Central News Agency (hereafter CNA), 19 September 1979, in FBIS, Asia and Pacific (hereafter FBIS-APA), 25 September 1979, p. B3.

(23.)For a discussion of the manipulation of Chinese Muslims by the Communist regime to promote relations with Arab countries, see Yitzhak Shichor, "The Role of Islam in China's Middle-Eastern Policy," in Raphael Israeli and Anthony H. Johns, eds., Islam in Asia, vol. II, Southeast and East Asia (Boulder: Westview Press, 1984), pp. 305-317; and Yitzhak Shichor, East Wind Over Arabia, Chapter 2.

(24.)Editorial, "Our Party's Basic Policy on Religious Questions during the Period of Socialism," Red Flag (Hongqi), no. 12, 16 June 1982, pp. 2-8, 19, in Joint Publications Research Service, China Report-Red Flag, 11 August 1982, p. 10.

(25.)Andrew Tanzer, "The Saudi Connection."

(26.)P. Bowring, "The Tithes that Bind," FEER, 15 January 1982, pp. 10-11.

(27.)Lian Godong, "Commentary: Important Step by Gulf States," Xinhua, 13 November 1981, in FBIS-CHI, 16 November 1981, p. I1.

(28.)"Commentary: People of Middle East Share Desire for Peace, Stability," Xinhua, 28 May 1980, in FBIS-CHI, 29 May 1980, p. I1.

(29.)Yitzhak Shichor, East Wind Over Arabia, p. 21.

(30.)Xinhua, 9 December 1982, in FBIS-CHI, 15 December 1982, p. I1.

(31.)Taipei International Service, 25 November 1981, in FBIS-CHI, 1 December 1981, p. V1. A similar denial was made by the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince al-Faysal, after his visit to the PRC as a member of UN delegation. See CNA, 6 February 1983, in FBIS-CHI, 8 February 1983, p. V1.

(32.)"Foreign Minister Concludes Visit to Saudi Arabia," CNA, 23 June 1982, in FBIS-CHI, 25 June 1982, p. 2.

(33.)Xinhua, 10 August 1984, FBIS-CHI, 10 August 1984, p. I1-I2.

(34.)Taipei Domestic Service, 11 August 1984, in FBIS-CHI, 15 August 1984, p. V1.

(35.)Xinhua, 6 November 1984, in FBIS-CHI, 7 November 1984, p. I4.

(36.)Beijing Domestic Service, 26 November 1985, in FBIS-CHI, 27 November 1985, p. I1.

(37.)Xinhua, 18 December 1985, in FBIS-CHI, 20 December 1985, pp. I1-I2.

(38.)Xinhua, 16 November 1986, in FBIS-CHI, 17 November 1986, p. I1.

(39.)Xinhua, 18 November 1987, in FBIS-CHI, 19 November 1987, p. 5.

(40.)John Goshko and Don Oberdorfer, "Chinese Sell Saudis Missiles Capable of Covering Mideast," Washington Post, 18 March 1988; also see David B. Otaway, "Saudis Hide Acquisition of Missiles," Washington Post, 29 March 1988.

(41.)Nayan Chanda, "The Third World Race for Ballistic Missiles," FEER, 2 June 1988, pp. 22-24.

(42.)Xinhua, 6 April 1988, FBIS-CHI, 6 April 1988, p. 8; also see Xinhua, 6 April 1988, in FBIS, Near East-South Africa Report (hereafter FBIS-NES), 7 April 1988.

(43.)Chung Yang Jih Pao, 23 July 1990, p. 1, in FBIS-CHI, 1 August 1990.

(44.)For a discussion of Beijing's role as an arms salesman to Third World countries, see Wei-chin Lee, "The Birth of a Salesman: China as an Arms Supplier," Journal of North East Asian Studies, v. 3, no. 4 (Winter 1987-88), pp. 32-46; Yitzhak Shichor, "Unfolded Arms: Beijing's Recent Military Sales Offensive," Pacific Review, v. 1, no. 3 (1988), pp. 320-330. Also see "Births of an Arms Salesman," The Economist, 17 November 1984, p. 40; and Fay Willey, Carroll Bogert and Robert B. Cullen, "Peking Guns for Hard Cash," Newsweek, 23 March 1987, p. 36.

(45.)CNA, 2 May 1986, in FBIS-CHI, 6 May 1986, p. V6.

(46.)"China and Saudi Arabia Establish Commercial Representative's Offices," Hsin Wan Pao, 12 November 1988, p. 1, in FBIS-CHI, 14 November 1988, p. 19.

(47.)CNA, 13 October 1988, in FBIS-CHI, 14 October 1988, p. 65.

(48.)CNA, 29 October 1988, in FBIS-CHI, 31 October 1988, p. 68.

(49.)"Zhao Ziyang Meets Special Envoy of Saudi Arabian King," Renmin Ribao, 14 October 1988, p. 1, in FBIS-CHI, 14 October 1988, p. 16.

(50.)Xinhua, 12 November 1988, in FBIS-CHI, 14 November 1988, p. 19. Also see "China and Saudi Arabia Establish Commercial Representative's Offices," Hsin Wan Pao, 12 November 1988, p. 1, in FBIS-CHI, 14 November 1988, p. 19.

(51.)Editorial, "We and Beijing," 'Ukaz, in FBIS-NES, 17 November 1988, p. 17.

(52.)Zhongguo Xinwen She, 23 December 1988, in FBIS-CHI, 27 December 1988, p. 13.

(53.)These scenarios are derived from comments made by Ching-yu Chang who was the director of the ROC Press Bureau and then the head of the International Relations Center, a think tank in Taipei. See "Red Light to Relations Between Taiwan and Saudi Arabia is Switched On," Zhongguo Tonxun She, 4 April 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 7 April 1989, p. 83.

(54.)Free China Journal, 1 December 1988, p. 7 and 5 December 1988, p. 7.

(55.)CNA, 17 August 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 21 August 1989, p. 68.

(56.)CNA, 10 November 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 17 November 1989, p. 54.

(57.)CNA, 17 March 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 20 March 1989, p. 78; CNA, 16 November 1988, in FBIS-CHI, 18 November 1988, p. 49.

(58.)Tokyo KYODO, 5 March 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 6 March 1989, p. 11.

(59.)Xinhua Domestic Service, 9 December 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 18 December 1989, p. 13.

(60.)Xinhua, 18 November 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 20 November 1989, p. 22; Xinhua, 4 June 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 5 June 1990, p. 10.

(61.)Taipei Domestic Service, 4 August 1989, in FBIS-CHI, 10 August 1989, p. 67.

(62.)Taipei Chung Yang Jih Pao, 23 July 1990, p. 1, in FBIS-CHI, 1 August 1990, p. 55.

(63.)Cheng Ming, 1 August 1990, no. 154, pp. 14-15, in FBIS-CHI, 7 August 1990, p. 1; Editorial, "Breakthrough in China's Diplomacy," Wen Wei Po, 9 September 1990, p. 2, in FBIS-CHI, 10 September 1990, p. 5.

(64.)Hong Kong Agency France Presse, 19 July 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 19 July 1990, p. 58.

(65.)Emile Nakhleh, The United States and Saudi Arabia (Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1975); Bahgat Korany, "Defending the Faith Amid Change: The Foreign Policy of Saudi Arabia," in Bahgat Korany and Ali E. Hillal Dessouki, eds., The Foreign Policies of Arab States: The Challenge of Change, 2nd edition (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991), pp. 310-353.

(66.)For a discussion of PRC-Israel relations, see Xiaoxing Han, "Sino-Israeli Relations," Journal of Palestine Studies, v. 22, no. 2 (1993), pp. 62-77; Yossi Melman and Ruth Sinai, "Israeli-Chinese Relations and Their Future Prospects," Asian Survey, v. 27, no. 4 (1987), pp. 395-407; Gerald Segal, "China and Israel: Pragmatic Politics," SAIS Review (Summer/Fall 1987), pp. 195-210; and Julian M. Sobin, "The China-Israel Connection," The Fletcher Forum (Winter, 1991), pp. 111-125.

(67.)For example, Israel was invited by the PRC government to install a permanent "academic" office in Beijing in November 1989. Yedi' ot Aharonot, 3 November 1989, p. 1, in FBIS-NES, 3 November 1989, p. 15. The two countries then established diplomatic ties on 24 January 1992. Xinhua, in FBIS-CHI, 14 February 1992, p. 10.

(68.)Emile Nakhleh, The United States and Saudi Arabia; Bahgat Korany, "Defending the Faith Amid Change."

(69.)Editorial, "Relations of Trust Between Kingdom and China," Al-Riyad, in FBIS-NES, 27 July 1990, p. 25.

(70.)South Korea switched its recognition to Beijing on 24 August 1992. Although this change of diplomatic ties was not unexpected, Taipei officials were angry with Seoul for several reasons. First, the South Korean government repeatedly denied any possible changes in relations with the ROC and the PRC. Such a denial by the South Korean government occurred on 19 August 1992, two days before the formal notification to Taipei about the termination of diplomatic ties. Second, after its switch of recognition to Beijing, South Korea transferred the ownership of the ROC embassy to Beijing, which seriously hurt the dignity of Taipei. World Journal (in Chinese), 23 August 1992, p. 1.

(71.)The Saudi special envoy arrived at Taipei on 17 July, but the formal notification of Riyadh's decision was not presented to the Foreign Ministry until 21 July, four days after the special envoy's arrival. CNA, 17 July 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 21 July 1990, p. 58; Taipei International Service, 21 July 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 21 July 1990, p. 69.

(72.)Julian Baum, "Shifting Sands: Taipei Hit by Saudi Decision to Recognize Peking," FEER, 2 August 1990, p. 49.

(73.)Taipei International Service, 21 July 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 23 July 1990, p. 69.

(74.)CNA, 18 August 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 20 August 1990, p. 56.

(75.)CNA, 23 July 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 24 July 1990, p. 42.

(76.)Taipei Domestic Service, 7 January 1991, in FBIS-CHI, 9 January 1991, p. 39.

(77.)Some ROC representative offices abroad do not bear the name of "Taipei" or "the ROC" or "Representative," which typically shows their unofficial nature. For example, the title of the ROC's representative offices in the US is "the Coordinated Council of North American Affairs" and that in New Zealand is identified as "East Asia Trade Center."

(78.)CNA, 23 July 1990, in FBIS-CHI, 23 July 1990, p. 72.

(79.)George Wehrfritz, "Losing Allies, Taiwanese Review One-China Policy," The Christian Science Monitor, 8 September 1992.

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Author:Wang, T.Y.
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Date:Jun 22, 1993
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