Taiwan Is Down to 12 Diplomatic Allies

Nauru switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 15, 2024 7:56 AM CST
Taiwan Is Down to 12 Diplomatic Allies
This shows national flags in Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum on the tiny Pacific nation of Nauru, on Sept. 3, 2018.   (Jason Oxenham/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The Pacific Island nation of Nauru said Monday that it is switching diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, a move that reduces the dwindling number of Taiwan's diplomatic allies to 12. A statement from the government of Nauru said it was severing ties with Taiwan and seeking a resumption of relations with China, adding, "This policy change is a significant first step in moving forward with Nauru's development." The AP reports that China, which claims self-governing Taiwan as its territory, has been peeling off the island's diplomatic allies, often with promises of development aid.

Nauru said in its statement that it would move to the one-China principle, which holds that Taiwan is part of China and recognizes Beijing as the government of China. It differs from America's one-China policy, which recognizes Beijing as China's government but doesn't take a position on who rules Taiwan. Taiwan now has official ties with 11 countries and the Vatican. Seven of the nations are in Latin America and the Caribbean, three are in the Pacific Islands, and one is in Africa.

The announcement was a blow to Taiwan as it took pride in elections held just two days ago, a show of democracy that would not be possible in China. President-elect Lai Ching-te, who will take office in May, has been described as a separatist by China. His Democratic Progressive Party supports maintaining the status quo, in which Taiwan has its own government and is not part of China.

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Taiwanese Deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-kwang accused China of purposefully timing the news to the recent election. The Nauru announcement apparently caught Jarden Kephas, its ambassador to Taiwan, by surprise. "There's nothing that I have to say. It was announced by my government and I was told to pack up and go," he told the AP. (Read more on Taiwan's president-elect here.)

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