China will step up diplomatic manoeuvres against Taiwan in the Caribbean by using increasing economic influence there after joining a regional financial institution. The Caribbean Development Bank, a major financier of infrastructure and social sector development projects, yesterday accepted China's application to join the organisation as a non-regional, non-borrowing member country. That means China can lend money to the Caribbean countries through the bank and influence lending policies. The Caribbean is an important diplomatic battlefield between Beijing and Taipei as seven of the 30 countries that recognise Taiwan are in the region. They are Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts-Nevis, Grenada and St Lucia. The political importance of the region was highlighted on Sunday when Taipei announced it was severing diplomatic relations with the Bahamas as the latter wanted to set up full ties with China. A Chinese official at the bank's board meeting in Toronto said Beijing attached great importance to its co-operation with the region.