News24

Taiwan gives 3 patrol boats to Gambia

2012-06-28 15:24

Taipei - Taiwan said on Thursday that it will give Gambia three patrol boats which officials said will help bolster the African ally's capabilities to counter maritime smuggling.

The three tiny patrol boats, each armed with a submachine gun, will be delivered to Gambia before the year's end, Hsu Mien-sheng, the head of the foreign ministry's African Affairs Department, told reporters.

Gambia's anti-smuggling capabilities have been undermined after one of its four Taiwan-built Seagull-class patrol boats was seriously damaged, he said.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has been in Taiwan for a five-day state visit since Tuesday. The small west African country is one of only 23 nations that formally recognise Taipei over Beijing.

Taipei and Beijing had previously accused each other of using generous financial packages to ensure the loyalty of governments or persuade them to switch allegiance, especially in Africa, Latin America and the Pacific.

However, ties have improved markedly since Ma Ying-jeou of the China-friendly Kuomintang party took office in 2008 and vowed to maintain a "diplomatic truce" with Beijing. Ma was re-elected for a second and last four-year term in January.