Solomon ties switch shows China extending its influence in region
Solomon ties switch shows China extending its influence in region
Solomon Islands Switches Diplomatic Recognition to Beijing, Taiwan President Calls out Beijing for Applying Pressure
19 September, 2019, 14:28
The Chinese government scored a fresh diplomatic coup after the Solomon Islands, a strategically significant archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, severed ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing.
China and Taiwan split in 1949 during a civil war.
"The decision of the Solomon Islands' government to recognize the one-China principle and establish diplomatic ties with China again fully testifies to the fact that the one-China principle meets the shared aspiration of the people and constitutes an irresistible trend of the times".
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen has said she "regrets and strongly condemns" the Solomon Islands' decision to establish diplomatic relations with China.
Taiwan will close its embassy in Solomon Islands today and recall all technical and medical personnel stationed there, she said. A parliamentary task force in the Solomon Islands formally recommended cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan last week, reportedly coming after China pressured the Pacific island nation to shift its foreign relations before October 1.
Wong said China's efforts to extend its reach is expected to help Beijing take advantage of its strategic geographic position and in turn give it more power when it pushes for its ambitious "One Belt, One Road" initiatives, the main focus of which is investing large sums of money in infrastructure development in its targeted countries.
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"Over the past few years, China has continually used financial and political pressure to suppress Taiwan's global space", Tsai said, calling the Chinese move "a brazen challenge and detriment to the worldwide order". "We welcome the Solomon Islands in seizing a historical opportunity ... to blend into the big family of cooperation between China and Pacific island countries".
"However, this is the choice that Solomon Islands' government has made, leaving us with no other option but to respond in this way". Thousands attended a march in April expressing rejection of the proposal, while ongoing Hong Kong protests against Beijing's encroachment of city affairs have led many Taiwanese to hold solidarity rallies and local politicians from bothparties to express disapproval for "one country, two systems".
Meanwhile, commenting on the Island Sun News report, foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said the ministry has found no sign that the Solomon Islands is planning to expel the nation's ambassador, contrary to reports.
In addition, Su said Taiwan's government should clear its name by getting rid of a misunderstanding that the country has been involved in so-called dollar diplomacy.
"I am confident that the 23 million people of Taiwan have this to say in response: not a chance".
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