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Taiwan is upset by Nigeria’s order that it move its trade office from the capital, Abuja, to the commercial hub, Lagos in what as seen as show of support for Beijing.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province, and does not recognise its sovereignty as an independent nation.

The Taiwan trade mission office swap was ordered after a visit by the Chinese foreign minister when his government pledged a $40bn (£32.5bn) investment in infrastructure.

Taiwan’s foreign office condemned Nigeria “for collaborating with China’s political goal to engage in unreasonable, barbaric, rough and violent political manipulation”.

But a spokesman of China’s foreign ministry said it regarded Nigeria’s action as support for its “one-China principle”.

Nigeria has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which is only recognised by 21 countries.

According to the Reuters news agency, in countries with which Taiwan has no formal diplomatic relations it often sets up trade and commerce offices.

For years China and Taiwan have been locked in a bitter diplomatic tug-of-war, luring away each other’s allies with generous financial packages in so-called “cheque-book diplomacy”, the AFP news agency reports.

Relations have become even more frosty since Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s president in May – not helped when she made a congratulatory call to US President-elect Donald Trump last month, breaking with US policy set in 1979, when formal relations were cut.

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