The ROC (Taiwan) has ended diplomatic relations with Kiribati to uphold national dignity following the Indo-Pacific country’s decision to establish official ties with China, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jaushieh Joseph Wu said Sept. 20.
Taiwan’s embassy staffers, as well as those serving with the medical and technical missions, are to be recalled and all cooperation projects ended with immediate effect, Wu said. The government also demands Kiribati immediately recall its personnel, he added.
Wu said the government deeply regrets and strongly condemns the Kiribati government’s decision, which disregards years of multifaceted assistance and sincere friendship extended by Taiwan.
According to Wu, Kiribati President Taneti Maamau and certain members of the ruling party have engaged in frequent exchanges with China since entering office in 2016. Beijing recently took advantage of fisheries and other commercial investments to establish a presence in Kiribati and extend its influence in political circles, he said.
According to Wu, Maamau also requested massive financial assistance from Taiwan to purchase commercial airplanes. While the country is willing and able to assist Kiribati in developing civil infrastructure for the benefit of the people, such a request is inconsistent with Taiwan’s foreign policy, he said.
Information indicates China promised to provide full funds for the procurement of several airplanes and commercial ferries, Wu said, adding that this enticed Kiribati into switching diplomatic relations.
China is engaging in a continuous campaign of coercion to suppress and reduce Taiwan’s international presence, force the people to accept its “one country, two systems” model and ultimately destroy the country’s sovereignty, Wu said. It is blatantly obvious that such actions seek to manipulate public opinion and influence Taiwan’s upcoming presidential and legislative elections, he added.
But the great majority of the people in Taiwan have already expressed absolute rejection of the model, Wu said, and the government will stand firm and make no concession in the face of China’s diplomatic assaults.
Wu urged all democratic countries to condemn the actions of China in the strongest possible terms while keeping in mind that its ultimate goal is to destroy systems of democratic government and expand authoritarianism.
Taiwan is on the front lines in defending democracy and remains resolute in maintaining relations with its allies, strengthening ties with friendly countries, and cultivating goodwill and support through meaningful participation with the world, Wu said. (SFC-E)
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