31 Dec. 1997
Chou Liang-Tieng (R), a Taiwan pro-independence activist, asks South African embassy official Jacolene Spangenberg to have Pretoria establish formal ties with the "Republic of Taiwan" December 31 in Taipei. Chou belongs to an activist group that espouses Taiwan's formal independence from China -- a stance that contrasts with the island's exiled Republic of China government which says it wants to reunify with the mainland. The Republic of China government took refuge in Taiwan after losing mainland China to communist troops in 1949. South Africa and Taipei will end their diplomatic relations after December 31, when Pretoria switches ties to China.