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  4. Nauru switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, envoy says 'I was told to pack up and go'

Nauru switches diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, envoy says 'I was told to pack up and go'

The break in diplomatic ties after Lai Ching-te won the presidential election in Taiwan on Saturday. Before the election, China repeated Lai as a 'dangerous separatist'.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Taipei Published on: January 15, 2024 14:32 IST
Nauru Ambassador Jarden Kephas, Tuvalu Ambassador Limasene Teatu and Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph
Image Source : AP From left, Nauru Ambassador Jarden Kephas, Tuvalu Ambassador Limasene Teatu and Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

Nauru: In a major blow to Taiwan just 24 hours after the anti-China candidate won the Presidential elections, the Pacific Island nation of Nauru switched diplomatic recognition from the island nation to China. With the latest development, it reduced the dwindling number of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies to 12 around the world. A news release from the government of Nauru said that it was severing relations with Taiwan and seeking a resumption of diplomatic relations with China.

China claims self-governing Taiwan as its territory and has been peeling off the island’s diplomatic allies, often with promises of development aid. It’s a long-running competition between the two that has swung in China’s favour in recent years. "This policy change is a significant first step in moving forward with Nauru’s development," the Nauru release said.

China appreciates move

China appreciates and welcomes the Nauru government's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan, China's foreign ministry said on Monday. Foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning told a news conference that Beijing is willing to open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Nauru on the basis of its one-China principle. The government of Nauru said that "in the best interests" of the country and its people it was seeking full resumption of diplomatic relations with China. Nauru has recognised China before, between 2002 and 2005.

Announcement came just two days after Taiwan elections 

The announcement came just two days after Taiwan elected a new president who has been described as a separatist by China. His party, the Democratic Progressive Party, advocates for maintaining a status quo in which Taiwan has its own government and is not a part of China.

China says that Taiwan must come under its control at some point and has staged military drills around the island to demonstrate its determination. 

Taiwan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tien Chung-kwang accused China of purposefully timing the news of the recent election. “China’s intention is to attack the democracy and freedom that the Taiwanese people are proud of,” Tien said at a news conference.

The announcement caught Jarden Kephas, the ambassador of Nauru 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 said. Taiwan now has official ties with 11 countries and the Vatican. Seven are in Latin America and the Caribbean, three are in the Pacific Islands and one is in Africa.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: Taiwan's President-elect Lai Ching-te could face tough four years in office with no parliamentary majority

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