Nauru backs Taiwan as allies consider switching allegiance to China

15-Aug-2019 Intellasia | TheAge | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Nauru’s president Baron Waqa has called for Taiwan to be involved in more international dialogues as its Pacific neighbour, the Solomon Islands, considers dumping it links with Taipei for Beijing.

China’s growing influence in the region has raised the stakes at the Pacific Island Forum, with Beijing increasing pressure on Taiwan’s international presence by wooing its diplomatic allies.

Waqa said on Tuesday that Taiwan was “a very strong partner” in the Pacific in many fields.

“We are very proud of being Taiwan’s friends and recognise Taiwan being a diplomatic country,” he said.

He said he was concerned Taiwan was not allowed to participate in international meetings and it could bring in its expertise “in many fields”.

“The rest of the world, especially at the UN, are not living up to their principles where people are not to be left behind. These people are obviously segregated,” Waqa said.

The United States, along with Britain, France and China and other developed nations will send delegates to the 18-nation forum in Tuvalu, which begins on Wednesday, amid rising anxiety over Beijing’s attempts to buy influence within the region.

Since 2016, five of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Burkina Faso, Panama, and Sao Tome and Principe have switched their allegiance to China.

Washington has openly urged Taiwan’s allies in the Pacific not to switch sides, as the region becomes the latest battleground for China and the US.

The Nauruan Parliament passed a historic resolution in March rejecting Beijing’s one China principle while recognising Taiwan’s sovereign rights.

Waqa has vowed support for Taiwan’s independence and participation in international organisations.

“As you know, I want to have strong allies in the Pacific and we recognise Taiwan diplomatically,” he said.

Manasseh Sogavare, the Solomon Islands’ new prime minister, said in June his government would reconsider its relationship with China, including domestic development.

Waqa said he would not weigh in on other’s “domestic business”, but said Taiwan had to be respected as “a very good partner in everything we do”.

“Even those people who don’t recognise Taiwan diplomatically, they appreciate Taiwan’s contribution in the Pacific,” he said.


Category: Taiwan

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