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Taiwan loses diplomatic ally to Beijing 

Nauru has announced that it will cut ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing’s rule of the self-governing island

Nauru, an island nation in the Central Pacific which is home to fewer than 13,000 people, has switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei back to Beijing. The Chinese government said it was ready to turn the page in its relations with the microstate.

Monday’s development – which comes just two days after Taiwan elected a new president – leaves Taipei with only 12 diplomatic allies. 

Nauru first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1980, but terminated them in 2002 in favor of China. However, in 2005 it reversed the decision. The new U-turn is “in the best interests” of the nation, a statement released by the government on Monday said.

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“This change is in no way intended to affect our existing warm relationships with other countries,” the announcement added. “Nauru remains a sovereign and independent nation and wants to maintain friendly relations with other countries.”

Taiwan was the last refuge of nationalist forces during the civil war in China in the 1940s and has remained de facto autonomous with the assistance of the US and its allies. Both Taipei and Beijing claim to be the sole representative of the Chinese people. While the wayward Chinese province officially refers to itself as the Republic of China, most countries, including the US, have abandoned Taipei and recognized Beijing. 

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FILE PHOTO: Taiwan’s president-elect from the Democratic Progressive Party, Lai Ching-te (C), addresses supporters.
Taiwan fumes over Beijing’s stance on island’s autonomy

Commenting on the news during a press briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said her country is “willing to open a new chapter in bilateral relations with Nauru on the basis of the one-China principle.” She stated that the change was in line with historic trends regarding the status of Taiwan.

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Meanwhile, Taiwan’s foreign ministry announced the reciprocal termination of ties with Nauru to “safeguard national sovereignty and dignity.” All bilateral cooperation projects have been suspended, while diplomatic staff have been recalled from the island, it said. Nauru will have to close its embassy in the self-governing island, Taipei said.

The Taiwanese administration claimed that Nauruan President David Adeang, who took office last October, “demanded massive amounts of economic assistance from Taiwan and proceeded to compare Taiwan’s aid proposals with those of China.” Taipei expressed “great disappointment and regret and strongly condemned Nauru for its actions.” 

When then-President Ludwig Scotty reengaged Taiwan in 2005, he said he expected economic assistance from Taipei. Nauru was once a major exporter of guano and phosphates, but the exhaustion of its reserves caused a major plunge in its economy, as the sale of fishing rights became a predominant source of income.

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January 15, 2024 at 08:19PM
RT

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