Swaziland’s King Mswati III has called on the United Nations to admit Taiwan to the organisation. It came in the week that the country delivered him a multi-million-dollar private A340 Airbus jet and paid US$1.3 million towards the cost of his 50th birthday celebrations.
Taiwan also promised Swaziland development aid costing millions of US dollars.
In return the King wined and dined Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, awarded her a medal and spoke publicly in her support at his 50th birthday celebration.
King Mswati rules Swaziland as sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.
Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China on Taiwan, is not recognised by the UN because the People’s Republic of China claims the territory as its own.
The Observer on Saturday, a newspaper in Swaziland in effect owned by the King, reported (21 April 2018), ‘The King said the Taiwanese have done a great job in the country, especially with their assistance in establishing a Royal Science and Technology Park, constructing the International Convention Centre and Five Star Hotel (ICCFISH) as well as the Mbabane Government Hospital’s Out-patient Department (OPD). He also recognised their contribution to the country’s health, agriculture and vocational sectors.’
King Mswati took delivery of a A340 Airbus jet the week before his birthday. It had previously been owned by China Airlines in Taiwan. The purchase price of the 17-year-old jet was US$13.2 million, but with upgrades the cost is reportedly about US$30 million. Media in Swaziland have reported that Taiwan helped in the purchase and facilitated a good price, but the details of this arrangement have not been made public.
Taiwan wants to join the UN and Swaziland has a vote to support it. Because the People’s Republic of China does not want Taiwan in the UN, only 20 countries in the world recognise Taiwan. Those, like Swaziland, that do get ‘friendship’, usually in the form of development aid or hotel trips to Taiwan for newspaper editors and politicians. King Mswati is to visit Taiwan in June 2018.
Taiwanese companies have set up textile factories in Swaziland and have become known for their poor pay and working conditions.
‘SLAVE LABOUR’ AT TEXTILE FACTORY